I WAS A DESPERATE FATHER WITH LITTLE FAITH (Mark 9:14-29; Matthew 17:14-20)
Day in and day out, I watched my son being tortured by some power that made absolutely no sense. It was an evil source that sapped him of all his energy and left him lifeless. It was ugly to see him foam out of his mouth, gnash his teeth and disfigure his face. I had to keep him away from fire and water because when the seizure came it threw him down on the ground or into the fire or water. It began when he was a child and grew progressively worse. Now, he was being seized several times a day and rendered helpless and dependent on others. I had consulted all the physicians and medicine people in my day. I turned to our priests and they acted as if my son was contagious. They were afraid that his demon would infest them. They had concluded that my son was incurable. And whenever I heard of a new medicine or doctor that offered some hope, these scribes and their leaders would always show up and argue that it was useless even to attempt to help my son. This was the situation when I had taken my son to the followers of Jesus. They, too, were swayed by arguments that my son was hopelessly doomed. To add insult to injury, I too had lost faith in ever seeing my son freed from this ugly and merciless demon. I had become a desperate father and had little faith to go on. I could not see clearly anymore.
The confusion ended when Jesus came down the mountain. Everybody went to meet Him with excitement and great expectations. I no longer knew what to expect, except I was desperate for my son. No one showed any more interest in my son. I, too, went to Him and outran the others. I knelt down before Jesus and begged Him if it were possible to help my son. I told Jesus that His followers had tried, but they could not help my son. This upset Jesus very much. He turned to His followers and said, “You are an unbelieving and perverted generation. How long must I stay with you? How long do you want me to put up with you? Bring the boy to me!” His disciples became very nervous. Jesus had definitely directed His severe words against them. They had been with Jesus for some time; yet, they had not grasped His intentions. I did not understand what Jesus meant except that we needed more faith. We were indeed an unbelieving and perverted generation. But the disciples took Jesus’ admonishment personally. Nevertheless, they assisted me and we brought my son to Jesus and I repeated my plea with if he could. He replied to me, “there is no if for those that do believe.” All things are possible. I quickly saw my error. And I began to plead for myself saying, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
When the evil spirit saw Jesus, he went on a rampage. He was not going to let go of my son without a severe struggle. He was foaming, gnashing, kicking, and throwing my boy to the ground and rolling him about as if he were a stone or a piece of wood. But when Jesus saw the crowd approaching, He decided to end this torture of my son and commanded the deaf and dumb spirit to depart from my boy and never to enter him again. I appreciated Jesus being thoughtful and sparing us another public display of agony and defeat. The evil spirit put up one more fight. This time, it had a voice. It shrieked like a pig being tortured, convulsed my son violently and departed. I felt an evil breeze passing me. My son lay still on the ground. I thought he had died. He was motionless. The demon had sapped my son of all his strength. Then Jesus reached down, took my son by the hand, pulled him up unto his feet and he stood up on his own. For the first time since he was a small child, my son could stand on his own. That alone was both marvelous and stunning.
Jesus had done much more than heal my son. When he freed him from the demon, he also gave him new energy. My son was a new person. He became healthy and strong. He could now assist and serve me. I could attend to other things. What I am saying is this when Jesus heals; it is instant and permanent. He is not a temporary, but an eternal physician. He did not permit the evil spirit to bother my son again. Furthermore, Jesus gave us faith. I, in particularly, was revived in my spirit. I was so hopelessly depressed that I no longer believed that there was any hope for anyone with an illness. Jesus showed me that I, too, could believe and trust Him, not just for me, but also for my son. In addition, others too would learn from our encounter with Jesus. His own followers would ask what they had done wrong because they could not drive out the demon. They would learn that faith is more than just being with Jesus. Jesus’ physical presence alone does not bestow faith nor do miracles. Faith must find an anchor within the human heart and soul. It must come from the inside of a person and not from the outside. Faith requires a source of energy that can be reached by prayer and supplication. My faith returned to me when I began to intercede for my son. Praying for others is the best source for building faith in us. Above all else, faith stays clear of perversions. One of the worse perversions is the perversion of the mind. When it no longer is capable of accepting the possibility that the Lord can alter conditions and situations, then the demon has indeed possessed the mind. It was a demon that put doubt in my heart and mind and made me live on ifs and ifs are without certainties. I learned that with Jesus there was no “if” and that He expects no “if” of me.