If you can? That was the question/response Jesus gave to the father of the boy that had a tormenting spirit. This got me thinking. How broken was his spirit to question his beliefs? I have to admit, at times I have mustered the same expression of this father, “Lord I believe, please help my unbelief”. His situation was so dire and so persistent, that he was not looking for a complete fix, just a respite. His expectations of life as he knew it, had come down to survival, to merely exist. He was not expecting God´s best and instead he lowered God to his human level. Life was hard and his son was suffering. “But if you can do anything”. It was an expression of desperation from a father that needed and pleaded for help.
I know the feeling, not of a tormenting spirit, but the angst and despair of feeling helpless and without a door to go. Any light will do, any sign of help will suffice, any handout would be great. Any move that would appease the pain will be welcomed. Dreams, potential and yes, even hope are a distant idea because reality has set in. And it is hard. It crushes your spirit and it breaks your heart. We try everything, anything, even the failed shallow attempt of hands that fall short of becoming the solution to our needs because its inconvenient or too much trouble.
The shorthanded help of people just won’t do it. Our human spirit is reduced to accept less, and it’s hard. The turmoil, the tension, the despair that is felt is so persistent that any expectation of things getting better are low to non-existent. And we reach to the “people that can help”, and sometimes we just get what we have always gotten; failed attempts and a weary tired hurt heart. It seems like the places we go and doors we knock, are pathways to empty rooms and dry hopes. Those around don’t understand the pain or don’t even seem to be prepared to help. And in our desperation we lower our lives to mere existential fixes, we become addicts of the immediate. Have you felt this way?
In the words of Martin Luther to his contemporary Erasmus, “Your thoughts of God are too human”. Our thoughts of Almighty God, all powerful Lord, need to raise to the place where they are to be. Only Jesus. He is the only one that can help the soul and turn all things around. We shouldn’t let the fallen world make our image of God, a fallen one.
He is asking us this question again today, “If I can?”, like if he was stating, “Are you kidding me? Do you know who you are talking to? Do you understand the power and the might you are facing this very moment? I created you, I know your most inner thoughts and everything about you. And I love you, as no one you can think of, loves you. I understand your pain, I see your suffering, and I cry at your persistent angst. But I am God and I am here to make all things new. Many have tried to help you, but have fallen short. I want you to know that I want you to come directly to me. Your source, your God, your I CAN!”
“I can solve your pain, I will wipe your tears, I can do and have done all things new. I will change your mourning into dancing”.
“If you can? You ask. I say, if you believe, anything and everything is possible.’’ Jesus.
“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”
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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2015
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible: Today’s New International Version. 2005. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.