I recently graduated from college. I have no long term plans — except for plans that involve chocolate.
I used to think that I was one of those people who actually embraced the new and the different.
But I’m not.
I remember distinctly a day during my sophomore year of college, when I sat under a tree and demanded that God speak to me. I was worried and anxious about something, and I wanted God to give me an immediate answer. So I waited. And waited. And heard nothing. I stood up abruptly, angered.
As I walked away, God spoke: You expect too little.
In that moment, I realized the truth. I have made my God too small.
There is one character in the New Testament that I readily identify with, and he doesn’t even have a name. Allow me to set the scene. You can read the whole story in Mark 9. Jesus and His three closest friends — Peter, James, and John — have been spending some time on a mountain, and crazy things happen. Jesus’ appearance changes so that he shines like the sun, and two prophets, Moses and Elijah, appear and begin talking with Jesus. Peter is overwhelmed and confused and starts spewing words, suggesting that the six of them have a regular old camp-out on the top of the mountain.
Suddenly, God speaks from a cloud: “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.”
Then Moses and Elijah disappear and Jesus looks just like He did before. As the men descend from the mountain, they are met by a mob. Dust is flying, people are shouting, and Peter, James, and John have no idea what is happening.
Jesus, seeing His nine other disciples in the midst of the chaos, asks: “What are you arguing about with them?”
In response to Jesus’ question, a man steps out of the fray. He is visibly distressed, and he falls to his knees in front of Jesus. The man informs Jesus that his son has been afflicted by a demon since childhood, and that, although Jesus’ disciples have been trying to cast it out, they have failed. Then the father says: “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
I’m not sure what the father was expecting Jesus to say or do, but he probably didn’t anticipate Jesus’ response.
“‘If you can!’” says Jesus. “All things are possible for one who believes.”
The father, at once helpless and convicted, cries, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
And Jesus does. He casts the demon out of the boy and returns him to his father, whole.
Although I don’t like to admit it, I often approach Jesus like this father.
When the father came to Jesus, he came defeated. Brokenhearted by circumstances, he had simply given up. Jesus does not condemn the father for his lack of faith, but He does rebuke him: “All things are possible for one who believes.”
The only thing the father had to do was believe in Jesus. And this is a picture of the gospel.
We cannot save ourselves. We are all broken by sin — the desire to live independently of God. And when things get bad enough, we realize that we can either keep dragging ourselves through life, or we can surrender to the One who made us.
When we come to Jesus, we come uncertain. We come tired. We come angry. We come depressed. We come helpless.
And we all need help believing.
The boy was not the only one who was healed that day.
The father was too.Leave a Comment
Lazondral Nelson says
This really spoke to me in ways I never expected. I too am like that father, but today I don’t want to limit my God. I want everything He has for me. Since I have expected little, that is all I have received. Thanks for sparking my “Aha” moment. Blessings!
Donna Upshaw says
Truth is when we become depressed we can become helpless, overwhelmed, and even hopeless. Think of it, t de-press something is to compress it. Push the air out of a beach ball and it goes flat!
We were not made to be this way but it can happen. Then we need an in-filling of love.
Of course if there is sin we must address it. But often there is just a battle worn woman warrior who needs others to come lift her up.
Sometimes we are the LIFTER and sometimes we are the LIFTEE. We are either a mission or on one. Thanks for sharing. Blessings
Amen I suffer from depression and PTSD and it sometimes like I’ve been compressed in this box and wonder if our great God will ever talk to me again like He did before. I admit that since my son’s murder 11 years ago sometimes I feel like I’m just going thru the motions with life and sometimes my prayer life and with God but I keep trying hoping He will rekindle the fire for Him and life again
Cherlyn, I too have fought the battle you are in now. Just this year after being disgnosed with depression then bipolar disorder
And finally generalized anxiety disorder (20 years ago) was healed completely from it by our loving God. I know somewhat the pain you are going through about your son’s loss. My cousin was stabbed in her throat barely missing her jugular vein. Her life was spared. My uncle committed suicide. Also both of daughters(20 yrs/26yrs okd) were born with very rare disease and we almost lost them. If it wasn’t for us knowing to check our second daughter for it she would have died. Praying for God to reach out to You in an almighty way so peace and joy can once again fill your soul. I love you! Your friend in Christ, Kimberly
Correction second daughter is 16 .
Michele Morin says
Rachael, thank you for this affirmation that even my unbelief is a bridge to knowing Christ better — if I bring it to Him and wait for Him to work.
So many blessings to you as you make the move from college to career — and may you find much chocolate and many friends to enjoy it with in your future!
Diane McElwain says
Our future was suddenly changed when my husband lost his job recently. He wasn’t ready to retire and we wait for what God has for us next. Sometimes waiting includes more changes. I couldn’t sleep last night and I was discouraged because I don’t see God’s answer. I spent some time in prayer as I could not sleep. We spend, or waste time waiting it seems. I wonder if I learn anything in the waiting sometimes. This was encouraging! Thank you.
Lisa Bastian says
Thank you, what an awesome reminder of Jesus’ words ‘all things are possible for those who believe’ .. I was also struck by the summation that the boy and his father were healed after that encounter with Jesus. Very insightful!
Thank you Rachael for this, today. How many times have I prayed this in the last 4 years? If you can God…and then not going further with MY step in faith. I have tears in my eyes when I read Jesus’ response. He still heals the boy and he still walks beside me I just need to believe!
Rachael, thank you so much for sharing this. It really spoke to my heart. I to identify with the father of the young boy. Many times I cry out to Jesus “I believe, please help me with my unbelief.” Jesus is always so good to me during these times. Jesus is so compassionate to us and no matter how many times we call out He always answers. As He said in Mark 9 “Anything is possible if a person belives!” That is my prayer today and everyday, that we just believe in Jesus. He always belives in us. God bless you. Sending lots of love, Stephanie xo
Rachel, I praise the Lord for these uplifting words of faith on faith. With God all things are possible if we by yield to His gentle will and tender arms having faith in His provision and care. Its a grace to hear that the Lord heals both father and son, it brings hope that He will heal any wobbly faith in me. May we each reach out to our heavenly Father today, asking for His help to deeper faith, to greater trust, and the help to take the next step forward and be healed 🙂
This is a beautiful story. You write very well.
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Rachael, thank you for this. I love that God doesn’t banish the doubters, only the doubt.
Oh my goodness, this post gave me goosebumps! So vivid, I could “see” the whole scenario and this applies directly to what I’ve been struggling with! Thank you so much!
Rebecca L Jones says
They turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:41, I think I always had high hopes and now I know why. I don’t think I was limiting Him.
Beth Williams says
I can relate to this: ” You expect too little.” In that moment, I realized the truth. I have made my God too small. I had a tendency to make God small. That was until I witnessed a miracle. My aging dad was having major dementia and health issues. Last year I thought my dad would need a nursing home or would die soon. God had other plans. I prayed for relief for my dad. God healed him and he is now in a new assisted living enjoying life more. WOW! Also had a friend completely healed of stage 4 colon cancer. Keep seeing miracles and answered prayers. Now I pray more fervently using scriptures.
I come to Jesus tired and helpless all the time–but believing now. He heals and forgives me over and over. AMEN!
!!!! love reading this!
Kathy Cheek says
Thank you for challenging us in our faith with your encouraging words today!
Be blessed as you take the next steps in your own faith journey.
Thanks for reminding us that the Lord meet us where we are. Healing us there.