This one is right in line with the message of the previous miracle: we need more faith. We have to trust by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the miracles, this one is perhaps my favorite and I know I have used it for devotionals before. The reason is because I see myself in the role of the father here, pleading with God for more faith so He can accomplish in my life what I want so desperately.
And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And 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 arose.
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
– Mark 9:20-28, ESV
The disciples had the power to cast out demons but they failed here. And they couldn’t understand why. Jesus, of course, cut to the heart of the matter: the father was the problem. He didn’t trust God enough to believe that God could deliver his son. Ever been in that spot? You need God to do something in your life because no one else can. However, you just find it so hard to let go and trust God to deliver exactly what you need. That’s where this father was. This father was at his wits’ end. He had struggled for many years watching over and taking care of his son. No one could provide relief. And if he wasn’t ever vigilant, the demon possessing the boy would destroy the child. The father talked of many times when the demon had attempted to do just that. I can sympathize with the father. He was tired. He was more than tired; he was exhausted. And from his words you can tell it wasn’t just a physical exhaustion. It was the type of exhaustion that inhabits every area of your life. Been there yourself? There is an answer. There is a hope. Look at what happened next.
Christ answered. He confronted the father at the point of weakness, the lack of faith. And once the father came to realize the problem and in response to Christ cried out for help, Jesus delivered. Jesus didn’t just deliver the miracle. He also delivered the faith the father needed. He stands ready to do the same for us. When we’re struggling, when we’re weak, and when we don’t know which way is up, Jesus is there. He’s saying to us, “Just believe. Just trust in Me. I will not leave you.” He is waiting for us to cry out. He is waiting for us to realize the real issue, our lack of faith, and ask Him to increase it. Then He will deliver what it is that meets our truest need.
Think about that for a second. If Jesus delivered the son but didn’t help the father, what kind of Savior would He be? The son would have been saved from the demonic possession, but the father would still be lacking faith. Was there any real faith at all? If there wasn’t, there would be no salvation. Sure, the earthly trials of the son would be lifted, but the eternal destiny of the father wouldn’t be corrected. And the father might have went away with a false sense of faith, never to experience salvation. How horrid the thought! That’s why Jesus dealt with the father so closely. And that’s how He wants to deal with us. He wants to meet us at the point of our greatest need: our lack of faith. What is it that you’re struggling with today? What is it you’re having difficulty trusting to God’s hands? Where is it that you’re battered and broken down and you want God to step in but you’re afraid to let Him? Cry out. Ask Him to increase your faith. Ask Him to give you the ability to trust Him in this area of need. And then watch Him take your hand, just like he did the blind man from the previous miracle. Perhaps it’s trusting in Him for your salvation. Or maybe you’ve done that, but there’s some other area of your life or some circumstance that is weighing on you. Jesus is ready to see you through it, if you just call out to Him to give you the faith you need. He will deliver. But you’ve got to take that step.