And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” Mark 9:17-18 (emphasis mine)
There’s a lot in this whole narrative, but something specific has bugged me about this story lately, both when I read it in Matthew recently and now here in Mark. The father told the disciples to cast out this demon. I asked Doug to look up the Greek for me this morning, and he said the word means that something was either stated or instructed. Either way, the father didn’t ask that his son be healed. He simply stated that it must happen.
I think that grated on me because it sounded so cocky. Who was this man to think he could just go around and demand that Jesus and his disciples bend to his every wish?
But, as usual, I was pretty quickly convicted as I began to put myself in this man’s shoes. He was desperate. He’d heard that Jesus was the Healer. He was ready for that healing! He was tired of asking. He was tired of trying. His endurance was at its end.
My heart was crushed as I realize how frequently I also make demands of God. And, like this father, my demands are often made from heart that is running very low of real faith.
I am challenged to re-evaluate how I present my requests to God. Do I follow the example of this desperate and demanding father, or do I heed Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:6? The latter is where I not only want to be but must be. There is no other way to present requests to God.