“At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.” – Matthew 17:14-18
Many of us have been living in a new reality for approximately 17 months now as a result of COVID-19. We have practiced physical distancing to the best of our ability. Children all over the country have continued their education through hours and hours of screen time. Parents have juggled full plates of expectations. People were isolated for many months. With so much going on, it’s hard to not feel anxious in times like these.
While Jesus didn’t experience COVID-19, the Bible clearly tells us that there were very pressing needs all around Him. People brought to Him all had very real needs. In Matthew 17, we read the story of a desperate father whose son was very sick. Using all his available resources, the father had found no help for his suffering son. He had even taken his son to Jesus’ disciples to no avail. This father probably lived in constant fear of when the next seizure would occur and what it might do to his son. Out of options and desperate, he came and fell to his knees before Jesus.
The first thing Jesus did was speak to His disciples. He had given them the authority to heal the sick, (“Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.” – Matthew10:1) yet they failed to heal the boy. After reprimanding them, Jesus asked to see the boy. Immediately, he was healed. Take a second and think of how relieved that father must have been. Can you imagine how much the son’s life changed that day? The disciples were understandably confused. Why did they not succeed? Jesus’ answer was simple: “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)
Fast forward in time. The disciples healed the sick, drove out demons, and did other signs and wonders as Acts 2:43 tells us, “A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.” The pandemic has taught us that God’s power is not experienced in the present because you had faith in the past. God’s power is experienced in the present when you have faith in the present.
When we come to the end of ourselves is when real faith begins. We see that happen in this desperate father’s life when he fell to his knees before Jesus. We saw it happen in the lives of the disciples, as they began to understand how their faith enabled them to do some miraculous things. And hopefully, we will see in our lives as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic.
- Faith is not something you can manufacture. Agree or disagree? Why?
- A faith journey often gets worse before it gets better. Agree or disagree?