Daily Devotion, 12/29/17, Mark 9:14-29 “Less Than Great Faith”
“’Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.’ ‘What do you mean, ‘If I can’?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’ The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’ Mark 9:22-24 NLT
I am always in awe of the great faith my pastor friends in west Africa have. We westerners join them in praying for a miracle and then are shocked when God does it. They say something like, “He’s God, we prayed for it, why are you surprised?” We call those “Only God” experiences and think of them as rare exceptions but to our brothers and sisters with great faith, they are every day occurrences. They have the capacity to believe God for the huge and the impossible. It seems as easy as breathing for them. Sometimes I have trouble believing God for normal things, much less for miracles. That’s why this story gives me great hope. I identify with the father. I try to believe and I want to believe but oftentimes I have just enough faith to cry out to God but not quite enough to totally believe He’s going to move. What’s remarkable about our gracious God is that despite our honest doubt, a little faith is enough.
When Jesus said, “Anything is possible if a person believes,” what do you think He meant? Sometimes I think we look at that as a challenge to close our eyes and try to make ourselves really, really believe that whatever we want is going to happen. I’m not sure that is faith as much as it is us trying to wish something into existence. I think Jesus is challenging us to put the situation in His hands, regardless of whether we think it’s going to happen the way we want or not. He wants us to believe in Him. He wants us to believe that He is greater…not only greater than our situation, but also greater than the lingering doubt we have. Honest doubt is actually a form of faith. It’s faith that God’s grace and love are great enough to overcome our lack of faith. The father didn’t try to lie to Jesus and tell Him his faith was great. He admitted that he only had a little faith then he asked Jesus to provide the rest and Jesus did.
If you’re one of those people with great faith, God bless you, I mean that, God bless you! Stay the course and pray in the miracles so desperately needed in this dark world. If you’re not quite to the “great faith” level, pray with the faith you do have and trust the rest to Jesus. God honors honest doubt but He does not honor fake faith. You are loved!