Answered Prayers continued...
There is a well-known retelling of one of Christ’s miracles in the gospel according to Mark, which highlights the dangers of doubt, and unbelief. It is well known, because it concerns a father whose love for his son compels him to seek Jesus in the hope that He could do what His disciples could not.
The man’s son was demon possessed, and wherever the demon seized him, he would throw him down, cause him to foam at the mouth, gnash his teeth, and become rigid. Since childhood he would also often throw him both into the fire, and into the water to destroy him.
This man had heard of Jesus, he had heard of what Jesus could do, yet when he comes before Him, and pleads his case, there is little in the way of faith perceived in his words.
Mark 9:22, “And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
The man did not say, ‘I know You can heal my son’, he did not say ‘I have faith that my son will be delivered’, he said, ‘if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’
That word ‘if’ highlights the man’s doubt as to Christ’s ability to help his son. It was as if the man was saying, ‘look I went to your disciples, they couldn’t help me, it’s not that I’m putting much stock in Your abilities, but if You can do anything, please help us.’
We know who Jesus is. We know what He can do. Because we know Him, we come before Him with certitude and faith, with assurance and confidence. We know our God is able, we know nothing is impossible to Him, we know He loves us, and cares for us, and because this knowledge resides in our hearts, our faith is but strengthened and emboldened.
Mark 9:23, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’”
It didn’t take an entire book to open this man’s eyes to the power of faith in one’s life, it didn’t take an entire sermon series, or even an hour long dissertation on the topic; it took twelve words.
All things are possible to him who believes, and if you can believe, you will see the heavens open, and God doing great and mighty works on your behalf.
Many things in our life are an issue of faith. If we can believe, then all things are possible. If we don’t believe, then try as we might, we will not see the answers to our prayers materialize.
No, I’m not trying to be mean; I’m just reiterating what the word of God says. Absent faith in our prayers, let us not suppose that we will receive anything from the Lord.
James 1:6-8, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Jesus wasn’t just trying to make a point with this man. He was the embodiment of love, so I highly doubt He’d decided it was a good time for an object lesson, given that the man standing before him was brokenhearted concerning his son.
Jesus spoke to him concerning faith, because faith was a necessary step in his son’s deliverance.
Mark 9:24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
A prayer prayed with faith gives us boldness, and in his sincerity the father of the child cried out, with tears, and pleaded with Christ to help his unbelief, although he believed.
There is a difference between being bold, and feeling entitled however, and this is a distinction we must make as wise and obedient children of God. When we come before God boldly, we are still asking, beseeching, and petitioning Him to work on our behalf. When we come before Him with an entitlement mentality however, we are demanding of Him, and commanding Him to work on our behalf. May we never forget we are creation, and He is creator; we are servants, and He is Master.
What would have happened if this brokenhearted father would have come before Christ, and rather than ask that He have compassion on his son and help him, he would have demanded that Jesus heal his son, and be quick about it too?
How do you suppose this scenario would have played out if rather than approaching Christ in humility and brokenness, this father would have approached him in pride and arrogance?
These are issues worth contemplating for the simple fact that many a believer is being instructed to be forceful with God, to demand of God, and command Him to move on their behalf, rather than humbly petition Him to do so.
Have faith, and your faith will give you boldness, but it will never make you feel as though God owes you, or that you are entitled to whatever you are petitioning God for.
Everything we receive from the hand of God is a gift - an undeserved, unmerited gift - which God chose to bestow upon us due to His infinite mercy and love for us. We were not entitled to it, God didn’t owe us, and we didn’t do anything to earn it. God showed us favor because He chose to show us favor, for no other reason than that it was His good pleasure to do so.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.