“If you can?” “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23, NIV)
When major trials such as the loss of loved ones, major illness — self or loved one, or job loss occur, they can trigger tremendous insecurity, undue worry and anxiety, and significant doubt. If we focus on the events and attempt to resolve our feelings without intervention or intercession, they not only test our ability to persevere to its limit, but often our faith as well.
I have been feeling almost paralyzed by my situation (dealing with all of the above situations within the span of a year, and becoming mired in trying to find explanations for why they happened). When the insecurity and whispers of doubt finally became so strong that I was spending the bulk of my time feeling defeated and blaming God and others for my plight, I came to the realization that i needed to seek intervention, to take a leap of faith, and to embrace the underlying promise of this statement. Because even when/if “I can’t,” — “He can!”
This verse is embedded in a passage that details the healing of a boy who was unable to speak because he was possessed by an evil spirit. It is a response to the boy’s father who asks Jesus for intervention, after having asked several of the disciples to help to no avail. The father says, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” After Jesus’ response in verse 23, the father cried, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief !”
The rest of the verses take us beyond the power of belief to the importance of integration of prayer and conversation with Jesus. The disciples ask Jesus later why it was that they couldn’t alleviate the boy’s condition. The reply in verse 29 is, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
I am fairly strong (perhaps I should say strong-willed) and have a very hard time “letting go and letting God.” Therefore, in moving from unproductive worry to belief and to seeking intervention through prayer, there are many verses that I can look to to help me. The one that stood out was: “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)
My Reflection and Prayer
How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Psalms 36:7)
Lord, when trials beset me, let me not become overwhelmed by fear or dismay — for You will strengthen and uphold me. When doubt creeps in and anxiety begins to take over, I take refuge in the shadow of your wings, and beseech you to let me remember that all things are possible to those who believe. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.