Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God gives people choices. These choices include: disobedience or obedience, death or life, sin or righteousness, pride or humility, stinginess or generosity, unbelief or faith, cursing or blessing, and grumbling or thankfulness to name only a few. Life teems with choices. Most times, in my opinion, people ultimately choose well. I greatly admire the father in Mark 9:14-29 who had an extremely pivotal choice to make.
This man’s son had regular convulsions and would throw himself into deep water and open fires while foaming at the mouth. The father watched this unnerving and heart-wrenching scene for years . Since Jesus wasn’t present at the time, and His disciples were not able to successfully cast out the demons causing this physical health issue, a great discussion took place within the crowd. Then, with perfect timing, Jesus arrived on the scene.
The father explained the situation to Jesus and then asked for His help and compassion. Before making any attempt to help, Jesus addressed the father with a pivotal statement: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The stakes became greater and the outcome shifted to a focus on the father’s choice to believe, not on Jesus’ ability or desire to help.
Although the father didn’t feel it, evidenced by the tearful response (Mark 9:24), he chose to proclaim his belief: “I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) Jesus honored the man’s verbal choice even though faith mingled with doubt from years of hopelessly watching his son suffer day after day. And, just as Jesus stated, the man’s proclamation of faith brought the answer to his prayers–his son received permanent healing. (Mark 9:26-27)
Everyday, each of us must make choices. One of our first pivotal choices must be whether to believe that Jesus is actually God’s son who came to earth as a man and whether He died on the cross for mankind’s sin and then rose from the dead. Once you determine your stand on these truths and proclaim them as truth for your life, you are better able to find solace and help in making other pivotal choices. Don’t base your choice on feelings. (Hebrews 11:1) The father in our story chose faith (believing Jesus’ words) even while acknowledging his awareness of some seeds of lingering doubt. God’s word is truth–regardless of how you feel about it. Get to know God’s Word and make your choices based on His truth. Proverbs is full of verses on making choices; start there if you already know Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. You are positioned to make the right choices every time. (Isaiah 30:21)
What pivotal choices are you facing today? What efforts have you made to align your final choice with what God’s Word says?