"I do believe, help my unbelief!"
In today's reading, Jesus sees a large crowd standing around in an animated discussion, hands flailing in the air. When they catch sight of Jesus they stop and stare in awe. "What's happening?" He asks.
"Teacher," a man answers with excitement, "I have brought my son to you. He is possessed by a violent spirit that throws him down. He becomes rigid and foams at the mouth! Often this demon throws him into the fire! Just now I asked your disciples to expel the spirit but they were unable to." There's a lot of shuffling feet. Jesus' disciples hang their heads.
"What an unbelieving lot you are! Bring him to me!" Jesus said. The father eagerly brings his poor boy to Jesus. "Please," the boy's father pleads, "If you can do anything, please do!"
"If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes!" Jesus says. "I do believe," the father confesses, "Help my unbelief!" Jesus commands the spirit to leave and never come back again.
Yesterday, we had our annual Community Conference. We listened to great talks about our Mission, Holiness, Unity and ended with a talk on Spiritual Warfare. Just like in Jesus' day, there are evil spirits around. They are not just out to tempt us into eating an extra slice of cake, or watch more TV. They are out to destroy us! Our speaker, Jim, said that to win the war, we need to know we are at war, we need to know who our enemy is, and we need to know what weapons and strategies to use against our enemy. Most of us don't even know we are at war! We are complacent, which is exactly what our enemy wants us to be!
Lord, help us to see with our spiritual eyes the work of our ancient enemy. There is so much disunity, confusion, anger, fear, deception, so much evil on a global scale. Help us to know that our enemy is not our neighbor, not even our irrational and crazy leaders, but the devil and his minions. Help us to read Your Word, to know the truth so we can live by Your truth in holiness and freedom.