Friday, August 5, 2011
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And 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 arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 9:14-29
You cannot be a parent and not from time to time wonder whether your children are possessed. Really. It might happen when they are small and they go off on some imaginary drama that only their little minds could create. Or it can happen when they have had to much sugar and stuff at a friends birthday and they tear up the house like a midget monster. Most frightening can be the times when somewhere between 11 and 13, they look at you with daggers in their eyes and you know they want you dead. One moment they were a giggly little wonder child and then the hormone machine turned them into evil spawn. Surviving parenthood and not calling an exorcist does require a great deal of patience and prayer.
Jesus comes across the befuddled disciples who are unable to help a possessed little boy. Some people speculate that this child had what we now know to be epilepsy, and that his condition would be medically treatable now. Whatever the case, the boy was in bad way and he needed help which the disciples were unable to deliver. Jesus is moved by the father and his child, and takes the time to heal the child with much prayer. The father is distraught, feeling somehow this has come about by his own lack of faith. God's compassion is there for the overwhelmed and exhausted parent, the confused disciples and all of us who find ourselves staring in the face of pain and torment we cannot combat.
Today I want to remember that there are some situations that the only answer is patience and prayer. Some circumstances are more than any of us can comprehend or tackle. God's grace is most evident and available at these time. May we all have the wisdom to pray for all those people and circumstances that seem out of control. For God has promised a solution for even our most difficult circumstances and the most complicated people in our lives.