Las Vegas Nevada, USA
The story of the father bringing his possessed son to Christ is one of the most poignant and beautiful scriptures in the New Testament for me. Unpretentious in its way of conveying the struggle between wanting to believe and doubting at the same time, this story gives hope to us in our sometimes drawn out interim between the answers we need in life.
Mark in the New Testament portrays this father as a broken man. He’s had to witness his son suffering for years from an evil spirit that is so violent it causes him to be burned in fires and almost drowned in water. Even when the boy is brought to Christ, “straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.” I’m not a father, but I can’t imagine having to see a child like this, and to feel powerless in doing anything about it.
So this father is bringing his life before the Lord and pleading for help. Listen to his plea though: “IF thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” There is doubt in that plea. He’s desperate, but at the same time doubting. It stands in contrast to others in similar broken circumstances, claiming “Lord, if thou wilt, thou CANST make me clean” or “If I … touch his garment, I SHALL be whole”. Even another similarly anguished father was able to say “My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she SHALL live.”
The Savior senses this doubt and responds, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” And this dear father, “straightway” realizing his needs for Christ range far beyond what he originally came for, cries out and says with tears: “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” To this, Christ lovingly heals the son.
It’s of interest to note, however, that the results for all these people are the same, regardless of the faith presented. They are healed through the power of the Savior. The leper is cleansed. The woman is healed of her issue of blood. The fathers are given their children back, whole and healthy. The small faith this father had to be humble enough to just bring his problems before the Savior, the small faith to ask for help even when doubting, was enough to realize the miracle. The Lord blesses the faith we bring Him, however small.
I find myself doubting a lot. Due to the difficulties I’ve had in my life for years, it’s hard for me to sometimes believe that the Lord will come through on His promises. There’s so much that I once hoped for: to find an eternal companion, to be capable of handling the stresses of children, to serve and give in my community and church, yet sometimes it seems so unrealistic. Little things can set off a cascade of doubts and fears.
Recently I was bringing to the Lord my fears, and I asked Him, “Just let me know that X and Y will at some time happen in my life, whenever that is, I don’t care, just let me know definitively that they will happen and I will stop doubting.” I had a sacred rebuking moment right after I said that. I realized as clear as day I was asking all the wrong questions.
The questions I needed to be asking were, “Does God really exist? What type of God is He? And what is my relationship to Him?” This is the great questions to be asking; everything else is insignificant. If He is the God He says He is, if He is a Father, and if I am His son, then everything is fine. I will be taken care of. All things are just as they are meant to be.
“But you don’t understand, there are so many ways I can mess this up! I make mistakes all the time, I fear and doubt to the point of incapacitation sometimes, I may just end up ruining everything!” This is the thing I immediately think after thinking or hearing the previous statement. But if the Savior honored an unbelieving father, He will honor little ol’ me of little faith.
God is real. He is our Father. We are in good hands. Trust in that.