He’s not a well-known character in the Bible. And in some ways, may not be considered one worth giving much thought to, considering his struggle to believe in Jesus. Yet I find myself not only knowing of him but relating to him more than I care to admit.
The Bible never refers to him by name, yet we know this much…he’s a father who has a child that needs healing. Pain in his father heart, helpless to whatever has grabbed hold of his son. A demonic spirit that not only throws him to the ground in convulsions but has apparently thrown him into fire and water. While I can’t relate to this specific type of issue, I can certainly understand the fear of knowing a child is in the grips of the enemy. And I can appreciate the distress of seeing the enemy’s attempts to destroy my child’s life.
There’s a conversation that takes place between the father and Jesus, which eventually leads to his request that if Jesus can do anything, would he help them. Jesus replies with his own “if” statement. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The father’s response is both a declaration of his faith and yet a desire to have more of what’s missing.
I can relate to this. Yes, I have faith to believe that Jesus can heal and deliver. But my faith has holes in it, places where doubt leaks in. Like the father, I cry out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” In other words, Lord, I believe in the general sense that You can heal…that You can set free…that You can deliver. But in a personal sense? There are holes in my faith, Lord! Will you heal me? Will you set my daughter free? Will you deliver my friend from her addiction?
There are times that yes, we know Jesus can do whatever we ask. Yet at a personal level, we struggle. All we have to do is like the father in this story, ask for help with our unbelief. There is no shame in admitting your faith is weak. This is the only way to fill those holes of doubt, with the strength of Christ working in and through us.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)