‘When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.’ – Matthew 17:14-23
Have you ever had an incredible spiritual experience—an extraordinary time of worship, or a mission trip where God moved in a big way? Everything seems amazing. Until you get home. Suddenly, everything that can go wrong does. That incredible spiritual high, that amazing God encounter feels long gone. What happened? The real world came crashing back in – problems, challenges, and bumps along the road cause that mountain top experience to seem like a distant memory.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples of Jesus had a similar experience. They had just been used mightily by God when they meet a man they could not help. That man’s life had been hit hard. He was a desperate father whose son had been tormented by seizures and no one knew what to do. Even Jesus’ own disciples were helpless. Exhausted, stressed, and fearful, this father fell to his knees in front of Jesus – desperate for help.
The situation seemed bleak. And yet, this turned out to be just the right moment – a turning point in this man’s faith journey. It was also a crucial point in the disciples’ faith journey. Often, it takes coming to the end of ourselves for real faith to begin.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve lain awake just overwhelmed by all the needs in the church, in this city. Falling on my knees, often in the middle of the night, I come to a point where I say, “God, the job is just too big.”
It’s in those moments that I feel the spirit of the Lord seep back in. And that’s the hope we have today. It’s at the point where we’ve come to the end of our strength, our knowledge, our options – that God can really start moving. This happened in the story of the father and his son. When life’s challenges almost crushed this family, Jesus healed the boy.
And the same is true for us. Have you reached a point of desperation like this father? Have you, like the disciples, become too self-sufficient, feeling that faith in Jesus yesterday is enough for today – and yet, suddenly you are powerless? Perhaps it’s time to fall on your knees before Jesus and cling to His supernatural power – especially when you feel powerless.