Thursday, February 9th
22 …But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
– Mark 9:22-24
A Misplaced “IF”
Mark 9 documents the story of a man who has a son with an unclean spirit who comes to Jesus desperate for help. The Dad’s says to Jesus, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us”. Jesus’ response is almost comical, he states “If you can!” All things are possible for one who believes.”.
Jesus response reveals that there is not a power issue, there is a belief issue.
Jesus knows well that he is capable of anything he desires (mind you, he is God in the flesh). This Father has a “misplaced If”…
It is not a question of “IF” Jesus is able, it’s question of IF the man will believe.
We see this in verse 23 as Jesus states, “All things are possible for one who believes.” There is nothing off-limits for he who believes that God is able. Now, this does not mean that we will get whatever we want. This verse is still rooted in the context of a sovereign God who rules all things, but the one who does not believe will never ask. So we come to God with believing hearts knowing that he is able.
The man then responds to Jesus with a beautiful prayer, he states,“I believe; help my unbelief!”
This is a beautiful prayer for us to pray frequently to God. May we look to Jesus as the one through whom all things are possible and ask him to help our unbelief even while we believe.
This prayer is a picture of the tension between faith and doubt…that even while we believe, we look to God to help us in our unbelief. We hold these realities in tension.
On this side of heaven we will not have a “doubtless” experience, but we march onward towards heaven as we declare, I believe, help my unbelief!
Thank you for your Word. We pray that by your Spirit, Mark 9:22-24 would change us into the likeness of Christ. Thank you for the grace as we navigate the tension between doubt and faith. May we not misplace our if. Help us in our unbelief. Father, we pray this now through The Son and By the Spirit. Amen.