Monday, March 09, 2009


There are a few stories in the Bible I can hardly finish telling without choking up.

Jesus took two of his disciples, two of his closest friends, up on a mountaintop with him.  There, the Bible says that as they watch, Jesus illuminates, literally glowing, and two long-dead prophets appear to speak with him.  Completely awestruck and terrified, words fail.  The men are surrounded by a cloud, from which the voice of God the Father boom.  Then, silence.  They look around.  Just Jesus.  In my mind, this is where Jesus grins and starts walking nonchalantly down the hill, then looks over his shoulder at them and says, "Well?  You coming?"

Here's the part of the story where I have trouble talking.

They get to the bottom of the hill, and they hear arguing.  There's a man there, with his son.  The religious leaders and Jesus' followers are shouting back and forth, but when they see Jesus, they come running.  It turns out the man brought his son to Jesus' disciples to be healed of his seizures.  The disciples tried, and failed.  As Jesus watches, the boy falls to the ground, convulsing violently.  In the midst of all the turmoil, with the crowd looking on, the father says, "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."

"If?" Jesus says.  He tells him, "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Here is the father's response, as recorded in Mark 9:24:

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

That's me.  I know that place.

If you've ever had your trust betrayed, you know.  If you've ever been wearied by disappointment, you know.  If you've been reduced to hope without expectation, you know what he meant.  If you've been given every reason to doubt, you understand.

So, what does Jesus do with this man?  With this broken, hopeless, desperate man?

He grants both his requests.

I pray we never stop at doubt.

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