It’s been one of my favorite verses/stories for the longest time.
It has all the elements: a desperate father, and afflicted child, religious tension and a climactic ending. It’s the stuff Hollywood movies are made of.
In this father’s desperation to find an answer for his son, he cries out to Jesus and says “if you can do anything” please stop standing there and show some compassion… fix my boy!
Jesus reply almost seems kind of rude (but it certainly can’t be since He’s the Savior and all; that would be just far too confusing to have a rude savior), as He replies, “If you can?”
Dad immediately sees he’s made a bit of a verbal stumble and throws his lower jaw into reverse (good plan dad). It’s here that one of the most profound things in Scripture is spoken:
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mk 9:24). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.It seems like a complete contradiction, a mis-statement, a theological fau-paux (for fellow rednecks out there, that’s pronounced pho-paw)…but, apparently it wasn’t. The dad got his miracle: one demon-free child.
How does that work? I believe, help me overcome my unbelief. Let’s try a few of these on for size:
- I have plenty of money, could you spare some change
- I love you, never talk to me again
- I couldn’t eat another bite, please pass the pie (chocolate peanut butter to be specific)
Still, that’s the way our God works, and honestly I am pretty juiced about it.
Yesterday we did outdoor baptisms at Salt City Splash (a water park here in town). I got to baptize 29 folks, but even cooler I got to hear all their stories be read over a pool PA (that was a first… along with girl I baptized wearing goggles).
I heard all kinds of stuff: I was bad, but now I’m good… I was really bad, now I’m much better…. I was bad, then I was good, then I went bad again, but now I’m really good.
I’m not making fun, they were all awesome stories, but there were a couple that really stuck with me.
They were the ones that said I know I need to be here, but I still have so much to work on. I am saved, forgiven and changed, but it’s still a battle.
I love those stories because that’s the reality of a human’s spiritual condition.
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief may sound like a non-sensical contradiction, but it’s actually a marker of holy ground.
It is the place where the natural meets the supernatural.
It is the passageway between desperation and hope.
It is the hallway connecting what was and what will be.
It is the breeding ground of miracles.
The miraculous, God-power we all need is not reserved for the super-spiritual who have forgotten how to doubt. It is the reward of those who desperately want to believe even more than they do.
It’s for the one’s who step out past that last stair in the staircase of faith and plant their feet firmly on the invisible ground of hope.
It’s for the one’s who are willing to say… I believe, but I need to believe even more.