Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Mark 9:14-29 (NRSV)
When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 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 was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
Most people cannot begin to imagine not being able to escape a spirit that seizes, harms, and mutes an individual. In the above story, the boy’s freedom had been taken away by such a spirit.
A desperate father approached Jesus with his possessed son, saying, “If you are able…” “ABLE?” asked Jesus. “Certainly, IF YOU BELIEVE!” The father responded, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of the boy, which it did. What a wonderful experience of freedom for the boy and his family.
How many of us have been healed of a serious health problem, not just because of a doctor’s expertise, but also because of powerful prayer support? Freedom from any disease—painful, chronic, debilitating, and potentially fatal—is a wonderful freedom to experience.
Faith and belief in Jesus give us extra measures of freedom from want and fear, because of salvation. Thanks be to God!
Gracious God, we praise you for who you are and for what you have provided us. When we doubt your abilities, help our unbelief by making us more attuned to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Go with God.