His mind was racing and he just couldn’t believe what was happening. The father had brought his son to the disciples so that they could heal him, but not only had his son not been healed, the disciples were now arguing with the teachers of the Law. He kept thinking, “Wait a minute! This isn’t right. What about my son? Who is going to heal my son?”
As all of this was going on, Jesus returned. The people quickly ran to Jesus and the father burst through the crowd and cried out to Him, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” (Mark 9:17)
When reading this story in the Gospel of Mark it’s interesting that the first thing Jesus does is to reprimand the disciples for their lack of faith. When the father cries out and says, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus looked at the father and said, “‘If You can?'” He pointed out that the problem wasn’t what Jesus could do, but what the father could believe. He told him, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
It is safe to assume that the father had come to Jesus’ disciples expecting that his son would be healed. He had come in faith, but when things went terribly wrong, his faith had faded. And when Jesus came, there was probably nothing left except questions and doubts.
There may be a lot of people who say, “I know what I want in life, but I just can’t seem to get it.” Like this father, we come to God hoping that He will help us, but things don’t go as we had planned and we find ourselves full of questions. God tells us that everything is possible if we will believe, but all we can say is: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
When we decide to go for the things we want in life, one of the first things that will happen is nothing. It’s at that point that most people will scratch their heads and wonder if they’ve made a big mistake. We often fail to get what we want in life simply because we don’t really believe that we can get it. So when things go wrong, we give up.
God isn’t expecting us to have a huge amount of faith. What He does expect is that we have enough faith that we won’t give up when things seem to go wrong. He wants us to have enough trust in Him that we don’t question His ability and willingness to answer our prayers, even when it seems like nothing is happening.
If the father in this story had given up, his son may never have been healed. But because he went to Jesus and admitted that he was struggling, Jesus helped him overcome his doubts and unbelief, and his son was healed.
When it comes to faith I like say, “If there is no room for doubt, there is no room for faith.” Our faith is not strong because we have no doubts; it’s strong because we continue to look to God in spite of those doubts.
In order for us to get what we want, we first have to know what it is. Once we know what it is, we have to be willing to hold on to our faith, continue to believe that God will hear us and answer our prayers, even when we still have questions.
The second key for getting what we want is developing the kind of faith in God that doesn’t crumble when things go wrong. It’s the kind of faith that continues to believe in God’s abilities no matter what happens, and that gives us the confidence to expect an answer from God even when we are struggling with our doubts.