Mark 9:20-29

And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “If you are able! —All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.

When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.” Mark 9:20-29

There is good news in the midst of this pandemic. Even as millions get infected and hundreds of thousands die, many more people recover. They get better. For some, the recovery is relatively quick. For others, effects linger for weeks. But they get better too.

The mystery of it is “Why?” Why do some recover and others don’t? Why is Covid 19 mild for some and devastating for others? The best medical minds in the world are chasing down answers to those questions. Answers that may, or may not, come.

In our imaginations, we put ourselves into this father’s sandals. We sense his desperation and heartache in watching his son suffer horribly since he was a little boy. Imagine his joy to see his son restored! Imagine his son, gripped his entire life by a power greater than himself, suddenly released by a power even greater than that. Jesus does his thing and the boy is able to stand.

The father speaks for all of us with his words, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Isn’t that where we all are?

Jesus told his friends, “This kind can come out only through prayer.” Could this be a lesson that they would have done well to spend less time arguing with the scribes and more time in praying for the boy? That idea hits close to home for me.

It isn’t an “either-or” – it is a “both-and.” The old wisdom goes both ways – “Pray as though it were up to God and work as though it was up to you” as well as “Pray as though it was up to you and work as though it was up to God.” In the end, we do both.

We do both even as we are caught in our belief and our unbelief. We trust in God’s healing power, in this life or into the life to come. We strive to doubt our doubts as much as we might doubt our faith. We pray. Then we do what we can to make life better.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, today we pray for all the parents whose children do not get better, whose lives are not restored. Be with them. Surround them with the love that will see them through. And we rejoice with those who are being restored to good health. Help us always, in our belief and our unbelief, to trust you in all things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

One Response to “Mark 9:20-29”

  1. Keith Benson Says:

    Amen.

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