We don’t know his name, but we know he loved his son. That’s all that matters. And it mattered to Jesus. This father may have been having a crisis of faith, but Jesus listened to him and still extended his hand of mercy towards him by healing his son.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 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.”
19 “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.”
20 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.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “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.”
23 “‘If you can? ’” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 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.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. NIV
What a story. Here’s a guy who’s not mentioned by name, who appears to not have faith…but still, Jesus takes the time to talk to the man, to listen to him, and to ultimately heal his son.
How does that work?
I think it was the unabashed honesty with which the man said, “I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” And that, my friend, is notable. There is an important lesson for us to take away from here.
Maybe you are facing what seems to be an insurmountable difficulty. In your heart of hearts you know that God is real. You believe that He is good and merciful. You believe that there is nothing too difficult for Him, and that nothing is impossible for Him. But just as there are seasons in this natural life, there are seasons in our spiritual lives. Sometimes we feel strong in faith, like our prayers are being heard and answered…a season where we have that sense that Christ really is walking right next to us. But then there are those seasons that are difficult, where God seems like He’s a million miles away, and faith seems non-existent.
The “difficult season” can cause us to believe that we are too far away from God for Him to hear us, or that we are too weak in faith for Him to act on our behalf. Don’t buy into that kind of thinking. Whether you “feel” God, or “don’t feel” God, just go to him with honesty. It might be with words as simple as these; “Lord, I am really having a tough time with this particular challenge, and I am having a tough time trusting that you will help me. Help me overcome my unbelief.”
Here’s a promise we find in the scriptures to those who go to Him, even in the “difficult season.”
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. NLT
Have you felt that you have been “destitute” of faith? That’s alright. Just let him know honestly. God has not forgotten your name, and He still knows where you live.
The story is not over yet!
“There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson