And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
I can’t help but relate to the father in the story of Mark 9:14-24. A man who had suffered much due to the condition of his son. A man who had exhausted every possible earthly means to find help and healing for his son, and to no avail. A man who finally found his way to the feet of Jesus – tired, weary, exhausted, defeated, but with a shred of hope left to cling to. Maybe Jesus could help. Maybe Jesus could fix it. Maybe.
It’s not as if this man didn’t have faith, but perhaps the circumstances of his life had caused his faith to grow weak. Constant hardship, public ridicule, and financial strain had been his reality for years because of the state of his son, and it had worn him down. Then, he comes to Jesus. And the overflow of his heart that was a good mix of faith and doubt shouts out in desperation, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22b)
I would be lying if I were to claim that I’ve never approached God with similar words. Just last night, I sat around a table with my small group as we discussed why we believe what we believe coupled with a time of sharing about the things that cause us to doubt in our faith. You see, I’ve never struggled to believe the truth behind Mark 9:23, that all things are possible for those who believe and that nothing is impossible for God. He can do it; there’s no question about it. My doubt steps in with the question, “But will He do it?” This doubt has kept me from praying certain, bold prayers because the fear of the “what if He doesn’t do it” creeps in.
But, I’m reminded of the promises found in God’s Word that faith pleases God, and He blesses faith. Hebrews 11:6 goes so far as to say that it is impossible to please God without faith. So, you and I can have renewed hope today in knowing that even when our faith seems weak, all it takes is the honest cry of the father in Mark 9:24 to unite our weak faith to the unmatched power of God: “I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief.” Because it was in response to this plea that Jesus healed the man’s son.
Sometimes I doubt. I don’t know if that surprises you, but it shouldn’t. I think every single one of us experiences doubt at one point or another in our faith. It’s what we do with that doubt that makes all the difference in the world. Do we live in and dwell on the doubt, or do we confess it, just like this father did, and ask God to increase our faith? Because God will increase our faith…if we ask Him to. And our increased faith could result in the miraculous!