Matthew 17:14-21 14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 2021 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
One of my biggest challenges in reading the Bible is jumping past my questions too quickly to try to find the "meaning" or "the point" of the text. Am I alone in this? There is significant meaning in this passage and even an oft quoted verse (20), but today I can't get past my questions. I simply want/need to sit in the tension of my questions (as uncomfortable as that may be) and pray that God will somehow provide the answer… or help me trust him even in the things I don't/can't understand. My primary question comes from verses 17 and 19. The disciples are unable to heal the boy suffering with seizures and Jesus lays into them pretty good. A recurring theme for me in my recent reading of scripture has been about claiming one's identity in Jesus and that by claiming our identity as children of God we receive the power and authority of God to go and do what Jesus calls us to do. As children of God we can go and make disciples, heal the sick, and bring light into even the darkest places of this world. This sounds great, and I believe that it is true. On a practical level however, lately I have struggled to know how to find the confidence to really believe… you know, with the kind of belief that has hands and feet… the kind of belief that is revealed in my actions and that bears fruit. For the last several months I have been walking with a friend through the final stages of cancer. I have prayed with all the faith I can muster. I have tried to trust God to bring healing to her life. I have tried to claim and proclaim God's Kingdom in the here and now, yet the cancer is still getting the best of her and I am helpless to do anything about it. Is Jesus looking on me and my inability to heal her and saying, "“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”? Is Jesus frustrated with me because my question is the same as the disciple's… "Why can I not do what it is that you have called me to do?" I don't have an answer today. I wish I did, but I don't.
Jesus, help me find assurance this day that I am who you say I am. I am a child of God. Stir in me the kind of faith that can move mountains… or at least help me to live faithfully in my questions.