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 at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 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.”  22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
A couple of thoughts dwell with me as I read this passage.
The first – Lord have mercy…
God’s mercy is always bigger. Bigger than our desire to see people healed and restored. Whether someone is a person of God or a person lost, God has more mercy than we can comprehend.
The second – Why couldn’t we…?
I ask this question of myself and God often. I believe God does heal and I believe God wants peoples’ suffering to end. But sometimes (or often) prayers are not answered in the way or in the time that I want or expect.
This passage shows that sometimes its something that I can do differently to be more effective in my ministry to people, but other times, it just needs something else to work differently. Or sometimes I need to be more patient, and sometimes I just need to stand with someone while the pain continues. Whatever it is, I know that I am getting better at being at peace with the complexity of desiring to see people restored.
Lord, help me to continue to grow in my ability to see the lost won to you and to see the broken brought to a place of healing. Thankyou for those who have shown me what it is to live out their faith through suffering – May they experience your love and mercy and be given release.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware