Opportunities in Disguise: Rivers of Faith, Part 10

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Faith, Opportunities, Rivers of Faith, Trials

What do we do when we face the impossible? How do we react when hope has completely fizzled out? Where do we turn when we are at the end of our rope?

We can learn so much from an unnamed man living in Jesus’ day. He caused quite a commotion when he asked Jesus’ disciples for help. Unfortunately no one was able to help him. Why? They were too busy bickering with the teachers of the law. How must that unnamed man have felt during those moments? All he wanted was for his son to be healed, and no one seemed to care!

Once Jesus was on the scene He cut right to the heart of the matter: “What are you arguing with them about?” (Mark 9:16 NIV)

Is there ever a good reason for quarrelling?

The unnamed man answered Jesus “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech…” (Mark 9:17 NIV)

Notice he didn’t call Jesus “Master” or “Lord” as so many others did. To him Jesus was just another of the very common teachers in the area. But he was desperate enough to search anywhere for a solution for his son who was suffering from a lethal demon possession: “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” (Mark 9:18 NIV)

Not that long ago Jesus had given these very disciples authority to drive out evil spirits: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matt 10:1 NIV) Why weren’t they able to use this authority now? Did they miss something?

“‘O unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.'” (Mark 9:19 NIV)

It’s clear that faith is on trial here. Why had the disciples doubted? Was it because they were arguing?

Now the unnamed man begins pleading his case with Jesus: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:21-22 NIV)

“If You can do anything …” In other words, the man doubts! But who wouldn’t? Wasn’t everyone around him causing doubt and confusion? However, looking at Jesus, he saw something different. Jesus seemed to emanate confidence and pure, unselfish love.

“‘If you can?’ Said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.'” (Mark 9:23 NIV)

How often has Jesus given this same response to us as well, yet we still doubt! Why? Don’t we think that we qualify for God’s attention?

The unnamed man immediately realized his mistake and exclaimed: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV)

Wow! This is exactly how we should react when facing the impossible: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This is exactly how we should react when hope has completely fizzled out: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This is exactly where we should turn when we are at the end of our rope: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

And Jesus answered this plea. He drove off the evil spirit.

But wait. The boy wasn’t moving! “The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.” (Mark 9:26-27 NIV)

More often than not, our situation appears to get worse before it gets better. This is when we must stand firm in our faith, because it truly will get better with Jesus on our side!

Shortly afterwards, the disciples asked Jesus: “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Mark 9:28 NIV)

Jesus’ answer was clear: “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:29 NIV)

Prayer! Not argument and dissention, but prayer!

It’s all about that intimate relationship with God! Too often we rush around without even consulting with our Father. How can we expect His blessings when we ignore Him completely? It’s really all a question of faith, and faith can only be established by developing a close relationship with the One who truly matters.

What is interesting about Jesus’ disciples is that after 3 ½ years of walking with Jesus, they still didn’t truly believe. It is true that Peter had once declared “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat 16:16 NIV), but even then he still had his doubts. Only at the very end, moments before Jesus was arrested, did Jesus declare about them: “You believe at last!” (John 16:31 NIV)

How often aren’t we like these disciples. We follow the Messiah, but our faith is far from where it should be. Maybe we are too distracted by what this life is offering us, or maybe we are too involved in the business of arguing about doctrine and points of the law. But one thing is sure: We are far from being one with our fellow believers, and we are far from being one with our caring Father!

Is it possible that this is the reason why we don’t experience the life of victory that Jesus came to share with us? We can. We can soar like eagles, just as God promised us. But first we need to believe. We need to take God at His word and ignore the pressure of our circumstances.

Sadly, after Jesus declared to His disciples, “You believe at last!” (John 16:31 NIV), He added immediately afterwards: “You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32 NIV)

And they sure all did!

God offers us many opportunities to testify to His glory. However, so many times we become disheartened at the eve of His breakthrough.

By human standards, we would compare to the Tuttles. In the 19th century they inherited a beautiful homestead in Maine from their father. Unfortunately, the grazing stock gradually pulled out so much of the sod by the root that the soil gradually disappeared, uncovering a vast stretch of ancient deposits of sand. Bit by bit this “desert” began to spread until it took over most of the farm. Discouraged the Tuttles abandoned the homestead.

A businessman named Henry Goldrup decided to pay this property’s outstanding taxes, and he became the new owner of this “desert”. Initially he tried to develop a brick and glass industry there, but he wasn’t successful. Nonetheless, he persevered until he came up with idea. He named the property, “The Desert of Main”, and charging 10 cents per person, he developed the land into a tourist attraction that is still popular today.

Had the Tuttles known about this, would they have given up?

If we only knew our Maker and Saviour more intimately, would we give up at the slightest sign of discouragement?

We really are at the verge of a breakthrough! Will we just believe?

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “Rivers of Faith” devotional series, please click here.)


Opportunities in Disguise: Rivers of Faith, Part 10