Saturday, November 15, 2014

The persistent father

On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, "Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy, and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves. I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not." (Luke 9:37-40 NASB)

The next day, after the transfiguration, Jesus with Peter, James, and John, came down from the mountain prayer retreat, and, as usual, a large crowd had gathered. In that crowd, there was a father whose son had seizures. They were severe and unpredictable. No one had been able to help him. In desperation, the father had brought the boy to the disciples (the ones who were not at the prayer retreat). They had tried to heal him without success, but the disciples had not been able to help the boy either. 

We will look at this passage in greater detail later, but there is a lesson in the father's perseverance. He did not lose hope because the disciples failed. He clearly understood that Jesus had greater power than the disciples and that a failure on the part of a disciple was not a failure on the part of Jesus. That sounds intuitive, doesn't it? 

It's surprising, though, how many of us become angry with God when one of His servants fails us in some way. We equate man's failure with God's failure (a lie from the enemy of our souls), and allow the hurt, disappointment, and anger to create a stronghold in our lives that becomes a barrier between us and God. It weakens our relationship with our Lord and robs us of the joy He longs to give. 

All too often, we encounter a "disciple", whether clergy or laity, who fails in a spectacular way. They may even have hurt us or one we love. It is easy to assume all ministers, all laity, all disciples, are the same as the one who has failed. We may even, in some mixed up way, equate God with the one who has failed, but how foolish this is. Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us that God will never fail us or forsake us. Even when His answer to our prayers is not the one we want, He does not leave us nor fail us. 

This father took his son to the disciples and, when they failed to help, he took his boy directly to Jesus. He wasn't angry because of the failure. He was simply seeking a solution from the One he knew could help. This father did exactly what we should do with our needs. He was not discouraged by man's failure. His trust and his hope were in Christ alone, and that is exactly where he took his need. 

Do you have a need or concern for which you have been unable to find help? Take it to Jesus, like the persistent father, and let Him do what only He can do. He may not do what you "want", but He will neither fail you nor forsake you.