“But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
These were the words of the man asking Jesus to heal his son from an unclean spirit. How many times have I not prayed to The Lord in the same way. “Lord, if you can?”, “Lord, if I am not asking too much”. What I do not realise is that my words are showing my doubt and unbelief in God and what I think, in my own mind, is possible for him.
When the man requested Jesus’ help with these words, Jesus rebuked him saying:
“‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
The problem in this specific instance was not Jesus’ ability to heal this child, but rather the father’s lack of faith and when the man accepted this weakness and confessed the help he needed with his faith, Jesus did not hesitate to go ahead and heal the child.
I am aware that this story cannot be applied to all situations and that it is not always a lack of faith that prevent God from stepping in to heal a person or prevent things from happening to us. What this story does highlight though is that we do sometimes stand in God’s way, preventing him to act because we do not belief His power is limitless and that nothing is indeed impossible for God.
If we pray to God, doubting His ability, we change the request from something asked in faith to an action that we need from God to prove himself to us.
God does not need to prove Himself to anyone. He has already done that when Christ died for us on the cross and overcame death. It is our turn now to choose to take the next step in faith, or not.
When Jesus rebuked the man for his unbelief, the man also had a choice to walk away or to confess his faith – which he chose to do. But there was something else he did as well. He asked The Lord to help him in his unbelief. The same goes for me and you today. God knows that when we have taken the step to belief in Christ and what he has rescued us from, we want to belief in everything God has promised us but that we experience doubts and unbelief. Because of this slow growing faith, The Lord has given us help with the Holy Spirit, who is ready to help if we would just ask.
“Help me with my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)