"'But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!' And Jesus said to him, ‘If You can? All things are possible to him who believes.' Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, 'I do believe; help my unbelief.'” Mark 9:22-23
Imagine the absolute agonizing exasperation of a father concerned about his severely afflicted child. As it happens, this man had a son who was demon possessed. Further, it was the reported that the demon, "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," Mark 9:17-18. Seeking to find help wherever it might be available, the man took his son to Jesus' disciples but nothing they did prevailed. The hurting father then turned to Jesus.
Nowhere is it recorded in the bible that this man was a follower of Christ. Of a certainty, there were doctors, healers and prophets in those days, each with at least reputed ability, but nothing we know indicates that this man associated Jesus with being the very son of God. Perhaps this is indicative of the impertinent (from our point of view) yet understandable way he said to Jesus, "if you can do anything." Among other things, Jesus prime mission on the earth was to teach and to heal. A crowd being present, he took the opportunity to do both. The lesson was one of establishing and building faith. In so many words, Jesus related to him that all things are possible through belief. From this challenge can one of the most profound statements in all of Scripture: "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Beloved, we all have gaps in our faith. Few if any of us can truthfully claim 100% steadfast, constant and absolute faith. This becomes remarkably clear when we are challenged by pain, broken relationships, job terminations, failing health, the loss of loved ones and other traumas. It is then that we wonder if God has abandoned us and perhaps whether he exists at all. Most of us come to our senses, but the unbelief is still there. In times like these, we must do as this grieving father did. Go to our Lord, seek his favor and believe. And for the gap between 100% faith and wherever we may be at that moment, let us seek fortification for this also.
Upon this man's confession, Jesus healed his son, instructing the demon to leave and to never return. Know that Jesus' ability is not contingent upon our belief. After all, he created the universe without our endorsement. Yet he desires faith and through it, gives us the power to accomplish great things in his name. Have faith.