Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV)
I call it ‘spiritual paralysis,’ and it usually occurs when people are overwhelmed with unrelenting worries or deep concerns about their family and loved ones. Sometimes it happens because of a serious illness or a long-term addiction; at other times it’s caused through career failures, broken relationships, or financial stress. Whatever the circumstances, the issue or crisis is so devastating that prayers are hard to say, faith is difficult to maintain, and belief in God is almost unsustainable. People feel forsaken by the Lord and drained of their hope. Their spirits become depressed and the ability to voice their concerns to God is badly damaged. During those moments, the prayers, support, and love of the faith community are crucial.
When Jesus dealt with the man whose son was gravely ill, He encountered this spiritual paralysis (Mark 9:14-29). The father was so overwhelmed with the boy’s illness that he doubted Christ’s ability to cure his beloved child. It was a painful moment for the man because he wanted so much to believe that his son could be healed, but his fears diminished his faith and crushed his confidence in God. His anxiety overwhelmed him and he agonized over his unbelief.
Jesus could have walked away and left the boy unhealed. He could have blamed it all on the father and abandoned him at the time of his greatest need. Instead, Christ compassionately confronted the spiritual paralysis, the debilitating illness, and the overwhelming circumstances. Jesus restored the boy to his father, as well as his faith in God.
Perhaps you are going through a time of spiritual paralysis or unrelenting worry. Maybe your reliance on God is wavering and your faith is weak. Whatever is at the heart of your turmoil, please know this: God still loves you and with Christ’s help, you can be repaired and restored through grace and love. You are not alone nor abandoned; you are totally loved and embraced by Jesus.
Point to ponder
What are my main worries and deepest concerns? Am I able to voice them to God? Am I willing to hand them over to Christ?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we believe; help us overcome our unbelief. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Come along and join us for worship on Sundays at 11:00 AM. You will be made very welcome 😊
Today’s image is of a Blue Christmas candle which is traditionally lit for folks who find this time of year difficult. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Candle.