Trials Produce Faith

Mark 9:14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, 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.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

I smiled when this passage was on my Bible reading plan this morning. Mark 9:14-28 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. As God has taught me much about faith in the past couple of years, this passage has been very comforting. I often pray the father’s prayer, “I believe, help my unbelief!” as I am praying and pleading for my Savior’s grace and strength. I decided to read the ESVSB commentary on this passage today. I was struck by one comment in particular.

The father merely seeks help through Jesus’ miraculous powers: if you can do anything. Jesus corrects the father’s statement by calling him to put his trust in God. I believe; help my unbelief! The father immediately confesses that he has some faith but also acknowledges his spiritual weakness and appeals to Jesus to create in him a hear that believes more firmly.

As I read this, I had an aha! momement. Over the past 3 years the Lord has led me over difficult paths. I have learned more about faith and trust than I ever expected to. I’ve also learned how much unbelief is in my heart and how much I do not trust the Lord. I have often used the father’s prayer to plead with my Savior for more faith. To trust Him like I should. But, faith hasn’t magically come. Actually, more trials have. The paths haven’t become easier, but harder. My faith has been challenged more. This morning I realized that this is an answer to prayer. I’ve asked for more faith. I’ve asked for an unswerving trust in my Savior. God answered. He could have instantly given me the faith I asked for. But, He didn’t. He gave me something far better…trials. Trials that have taught me faith like nothing else could. As I have watched my Savior’s faithfulness and care, as I have watched Him carry me through; I trust Him more. My faith in my God’s sovereignty, care, and love for me has increased ten fold. I am more confident in my Father’s mysterious care now, than I have ever been. How awesome is it to realize that God has been answering your prayers! How amazing to look back and see what He has done in me! It gives me fresh faith and joy for tomorrow. I do not know the plans He has for me. I do not know where He is leading me. But, I do know that He is good and faithful!!! I can trust Him to lead me wherever is best for me. And that friends, is an exciting place to be!

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