“Stuck Between The Can and The Will”

WORDS FROM W.W. December 15, 2011

A walk with Jesus is a walk of faith.
Plain and simple! Faith is what moves us on when it would be rationale to stop. Faith is at the center of who we are as Christians. It takes faith to believe that what the Word of truth is really true.
But there is a point in our faith walk where it is easy to get stuck. It’s a point that is as consuming as Mississippi mud. It’s the place where we have faith that God can do something, but we’re not sure if he will do something. It’s an uncomfortable place for people of faith to be in, because we pride ourselves on believing. Stories of extreme faith fill our Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and daily guides. It’s the residence of the doubt-filled.
There’s an interesting story in Mark 9 where Jesus encounters a man whose son is possessed by an evil spirit. The father has grieved the pain of his son’s life for years. The boy is continually in the midst of situations that can bring him harm, plus he can’t speak. The father comes to Jesus and tells Jesus that he has already brought his son to the disciples, but they can’t seem to handle the situation. Jesus replies “O unbelieving generation…” (Mark 9:19)
His disciples were struggling with the “can” and the “will.” They were at an impasse. I picture it being like a group of government bureaucrats shrugging their shoulders and saying “We’re sorry! But this is a situation that falls outside our parameters. You might check with the disciples of John the Baptist. They may be able to help you.”
The scripture says that when the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. (Mark 9:20). At the end of verse 22 the father says to Jesus, “…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
And Jesus replies, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.”
The disciples are over in the corner trying to not notice, and doing a lot of rubbing of their foreheads. The father then replies to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Those words resonate with me. I believe, but sometimes my unbelief tips the scales.
We may feel guilty in those moments and those points of “faith deserts” in our lives.
But the story doesn’t end there! After Jesus has cast out the spirit and restored the son, he is in a private location with his disciples and they ask him the tough question- the question that gets attached to the “stuck point of faith.”
“Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
And Jesus replies in Mark 9:29, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
It seems that prayer is an essential bridge builder over the gulf of doubt. How much prayer? I don’t know. I don’t read in scripture that there’s a minimum…or a maximum. It’s a vessel that slowly moves us, or, if you will, un-sticks us, from the “can” to the “will.”
Perhaps sometimes we don’t put faith in our praying.

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2 Comments on ““Stuck Between The Can and The Will””

  1. Katie Says:

    Hmmmmmm…


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