Verse of the Day Devotion: Mark 9:24
“Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you want God to help you yet are not sure if He can or will? We have to be honest with ourselves if we find ourselves in this situation. Just as the father in this story was honest with Jesus. The story starts with the disciples struggling with belief themselves. “And one of the crowd answered Him, Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” Mark 9:17-18. A man brings his son who has a demon to Jesus’ disciples and told the disciples to cast it out. However, they were unable, so He brings him to Jesus. “And Jesus answered them and said, O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” Mark 9:19 Them refers to His own disciples.
After this, “They brought the boy to Jesus. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, How long has this been happening to him? And he said, From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us, and help us! “ Mark 9:20-22. Note the wording here, “if you can do anything”. He was not sure. And Jesus catches this phrase. “And Jesus said to him ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23. In saying this, it appears that the beginning of faith appears to have come. And we see this in the father’s answer to Jesus in our focus verse. “Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, I do believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24. What this man told Christ was that he did believe He had power, but there was still elements of unbelief in him regarding the healing of his son. This was probably due to the amount of time his son has suffered with it, and the many ways they tried to address it and failed. Jesus heard what the man said and had compassion on him and the boy. “When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, you deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” Mark 9:25.
God knows us, and He knows our hearts. Therefore, it does no good to attempt to conceal the doubts we may have. We can know He is capable of doing everything yet have doubts about specifics we desire or need Him to do. There are two things in our focus verse I wish to point out. First, the man felt and admitted this unbelief to Jesus. He opened his heart to Him, admitting its presence. It was not complete unbelief in Jesus, just, in this instance, His healing power for his son. As stated above, sometimes we experience so many failures regarding what we are praying for, it becomes difficult to believe it can be done at all. And second, he appealed to Jesus to help him overcome this unbelief. And this should be our cry when we find ourselves in a similar predicament: believing God can do anything but struggling in this instance. We see God’s love in that He helped this man overcome his doubt, and He will do the same for us. Open your heart and be totally open to Him, not just saying the words we think will work, but speaking the truth. God will help us in our shortcomings when we admit they are there and ask Him for help.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.