[a father speaking about his son] â€œThe spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.â€ Â Â Mark 9:22 (NLT, my emphasis)
If you haven’t read this entire story in Mark recently, take five minutes and do so. It’s a good one, especially if you are a parent, an aunt or uncle, or grandparent. In my mind, in my heart, a child just should not suffer. When I was in nursing school, I did not have to go through my pediatric rotation to know that I was not â€œgiftedâ€ to be a pediatric nurse. I spent three weeks during my rotation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital during a time when â€œsuccessâ€ and â€œcureâ€ was not words used to describe the treatment path of most of their children. Thank You, Jesus, that You have brought knowledge and giftings that have changed the lives of most of the children who now come there.
The father in Mark’s Gospel is crying out to Jesus to do something for his child who is being tormented. His prayer isn’t pretty. His prayer isn’t filled with faith. He isn’t even sure if Jesus can do anything. But he is desperate.
It wasn’t the perfection of the prayer that caused Jesus to heal this young man. It was to glorify the Father. It was to â€œgrow upâ€ some disciples. Jesus had a bigger picture. And that does not minimize the suffering of this young man. Jesus’ quickly took care of the boy before the crowd gathered. But it appears that Jesus healed him to teach us all and show how much the Father loved him.
We pray to communicate our needs, our worries, our confusion, and our love for Jesus. God doesn’t need to hear our prayers in order to know what’s going on. But He is the perfect parent and He wants to keep those lines of communication open and spend time with His children.
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Psalm 66:20: (NLT)
We should not be surprised when God does not answer our prayer the way we think He should. I did not always say â€œyesâ€ to my children either. God has a different perspective on my request and He is going to give me the â€œbestâ€ answer whether I can understand that at the time or not. More prayer will lead me into a deeper understanding of God and Who He is. I will learn His way for my life.
Christmas is a good time for me spend time looking at â€œJesus: The Early Yearsâ€. I learn about His mother, meekly obedient and yet strong enough to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross when He died. And His father, Joseph, who shows me about faith as a certainty in God’s plan even when I cannot see. It is worth getting up a little early or staying up when the house is quiet to pull out my Bible and dig a bit in God’s word and sit quietly and listen to His voice. It is a gift to yourself that keeps on giving…We pray.