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The Pastor's Blog

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David’s epilepsy was so severe and so uncontrolled that he wore a football helmet as he walked the wide hallways of our high school. Though it was nearly fifty years ago, I vividly recall occasions when, along with other horrified students, I watched as frantic teachers battled to rescue David from the self-destructive ravages of the convulsive seizures.

When I read Mark’s nineth chapter, I think of David.

While Jesus and His three inner-circle-disciples were atop the mountain, a desperate, distraught, and distressed daddy brought his son to the other nine disciples. The boy, like David, was tortured and traumatized with seizures and convulsions. Sadly, the nine were unable to help.

When Jesus arrived, the boy’s father said, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid” (Mark 9:17-18). “ ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water’ ” (Matthew 17:15). “A spirit seizes him; suddenly he shrieks, and it throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; severely bruising him, it scarcely ever leaves him” (Luke 9:39).

It would be difficult to overstate the dad’s brokenness. He was overwhelmed, demoralized, beaten. Day and night he had cared for his son. When they sat at the fireside in the evening, often the boy would have a seizure throwing him into the fire. When they drew water at the shore, he might be tossed into the water. Every moment, the daddy had been on guard, ready to save the boy from harm or death.

“So they brought the boy to Jesus. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ Jesus asked his father. ‘From childhood … if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:20-22).

“If you can” drive out a demonic spirit… “If you can” make the convulsions and seizures cease… “If you can” give peace and joy where there is only wreckage and ruin…

“If you can?” A few millennia before, Jesus had spoken the worlds into existence! When He said, “Let there be…” (Genesis 1), instantly, miraculously, there was!

“ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

“Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Come out of him and never enter him again’ ” (Mark 9:24-25).

Oh Lord, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”


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