v 24. The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
I can almost hear some of you saying this morning “Been there!” You have prayed – and yet….. The fact is that you have not been really sure that an answer is either possible or even likely. The father of the child in this story had tried everything to find a cure for his son; and Jesus’ disciples had tried praying too but still there was no answer in sight. The man was torn between believing that Jesus could help, and yet feeling overwhelmed by the impossibility of any improvement. The condition was a long-standing one; the seizures had affected him since childhood and the father was utterly desperate. (Any of you who have experienced long term illness in the family will get this story! At a personal level I struggle with this one. I sit in front of my computer typing away but my thoughts are elsewhere at this particular moment as I reflect on my own family. Can you … will you … do anything about it Lord? Is it my lack of belief, or that your plans are better than my hopes? To be honest, I don’t even find Jesus’ response to the situation particularly helpful –‘“Anything is possible if a person believes.”’ Does the real problem lie in my lack of faith? Brief answers on a postcard.)
What I get from the story is a picture of a desperate father who had tried everything to help his son and had yet seen no evidence of God’s intervention in the situation. Was hope possible? Had God got an answer for him? What does this story tell you about God answering prayer?