Have you ever asked someone to do something for you and included the phrase “if you can” ?? Probably so. It’s a common phrase. But there’s one circumstance where you’ll never need it.
Before we look at that circumstance, THIS circumstance requires me to say welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — I’m really glad you decided to drop in this morning. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
“If you can” could be a simple innocuous question. It could be a challenge. It could be an abject appeal for help. In today’s verse – it is all three.
Jesus and three of His disciples have just rejoined the others at the base of a mountain when a boy’s father appeals to Him for help. He says, “Teacher, I brought my son so You could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit takes control of him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
Today’s verse comes from Jesus’ answer – EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE WHO BELIEVES
Like you and me, the father knew that he had a problem. He needed more faith. Stronger faith. As soon as Jesus had spoken these words the father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
And there’s our problem, too. We have faith – SOME FAITH. But the faith we have isn’t moving the mountains in our lives or dealing with the demons that plague us. It’s a beginning, to be sure; but it doesn’t seem to be doing enough. Then there’s the issue of our fear holding us back from exercising our faith or expressing our belief in what God will do. Just like you, I struggle with praying bold prayers and believing for big things. But God keeps stepping in and helping me overcome my unbelief. And He does it by leading me to ask bigger, bolder requests of Him for His glory.
The good news is that He answers me every single time. The bad news is that sometimes His answer is “No.” When what I’m asking isn’t in line with His plan or His will, my loving Heavenly Father doesn’t give me what He knows will ultimately not advance His best purposes for everyone involved. And often I cannot understand why. THAT is where true faith comes into play, my friend.
The backslider in heart will always judge God by what He didn’t do. And some of us will take His “no” and say that God didn’t answer our prayer. But “no” is an answer. Those who run with faith in who He is will always define Him by what He HAS said, what He HAS promised and what He HAS done. Is God my friend? Of course! But God was my LORD before He was my friend. My friendship with God can only go where His Lordship has already been. I don’t ever want my lack of understanding to take me away from Him. I don’t ever want to critique God; He’s the one who critiques me.
When the demons get cast out and the illnesses get healed it is easy to rejoice and say “God answered our prayers.” When God’s answers fit the outcomes we hope for, faith is easy; when they do not, faith is essential.
The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t begin with the phrase “Our Waiter, who art in heaven, awaiting our beck and call …” It begins with “Our FATHER” A loving, wise and compassionate Father. A Father who loves us more than we are capable of comprehending, who is working in us to develop more that we currently see, who wants to bring us into places we cannot understand and touch lives we’ve not yet even met. He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and give us a future. His “No” as well as His “Yes” are both intended to move us closer to the fulfillment of His call. He tells us He loves us, and asks us to trust Him.
EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE WHO BELIEVES
Getting to the place where your prayers are writing checks your personal abilities can’t cash — only a FAITHFUL GOD can. That’s possible.
Persisting in prayer when the answer you’re seeking hasn’t arrived yet. That’s possible.
Trusting in the love of Christ when the answer is “No.” Yes, even that’s possible.