“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
My daughter is one tough cookie. She is only 8, but she has a very old soul. She never complains. She never tells you when she is hurt or sick. She is an internalizer of negative circumstances. And she has been that way since she was a toddler.
My son, however, is a clinger. I hear his cries throughout the house at the slightest sign of discomfort, fear, or pain. He runs immediately looking for a parent to fix things. He certainly doesn’t mind telling you what is going on with him.
When I look at my children, it gives me somewhat of an idea of what God might go through with us. There are times, when hearing his cry, I am the one running to my son – recognizing the shriek of true emergency. Then there are others in which I choose to let him deal with the issue on his own – to gain confidence in his own abilities to solve problems. I am sure most of you with children operate in a similar way. His issues are a normal part of growing up and parenting.
However, my daughter gives me a tremendous amount of insight into my own relationship with the Father. There are times that I look at her and think, “Why won’t she let me help her? Why is she carrying this heavy burden around all by herself? Doesn’t she know how much I want to help her?”
It is in raising this child that I see God saying the same things about me. I never want to admit weakness or pain or need. Why is that, when I have a heavenly Father that would do, and has done, everything for me? I believe that I give Him great joy when I come asking for His help. So what is it about my heart that won’t let Him in?
How about you friends? Do you run to the protective embrace of a God who loves you? Or do you keep Him at arms length, saying “I am ok. Go take care of somebody that really needs it.”
Praise to the One, my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sustainer! My Lord, You stand ready to shield and protect me. You actually run when I, Your beloved child, cries. Forgive me, Lord, for my prideful arrogance. Forgive me for breaking Your heart. Teach me to trust in You, completely. Give me a heart that accepts Your grace and mercy. Cloak me in humility, that I can learn to admit my own needs, and be thankful for Your presence in all circumstances. Show me how to stand in Your strength, and not my own.
In the name of Jesus I pray,