When Your Faith Flickers

One of the crowd. . .  said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

He answered them and said, “O faithless generation how long shall I be with you?. . .”

They brought him to Him. . immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

And the [father] said. . “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:12-23

Some days, it’s easy to trust God. Other days, it’s not so easy, especially if the life of your child is involved.

Melanie, our first-born, was 2 ½ years old and into everything. By this, I mean she was like most little children, poking around in places and trying things she ought not to. In her young mind, she thought that because Mom often squirreled gum and goldfish away in her purse, it was okay for her to get into it one afternoon and see what was in there.

Instead of snacks, she found some medication in a non-childproof bottle. Chubby little hands untwisted the top and a few of the pills went into her mouth.

My husband and I came upon her soon thereafter but were horrified about how many pills were missing. There was only one thing to do—we called Poison Control.

They told us that because of the adult dosage of the medication and the uncertainty as to how many of the pills were gone, we should rush her to the emergency room of Jackson Memorial Hospital, the largest medical facility in Miami.

Once the doctors assessed her, they told us she’d have to swallow liquid charcoal to dilute the effects of the medication in her.  Liquid charcoal is exactly what it sounds like—a Kingsford briquette ground down, with just enough water to hold it together. The nurses brought in a wide syringe packed with the black, chalky stuff and told us to hold our baby’s arms and legs.

As you can imagine, it was heart-rending to hold my child down while this unimaginable stuff was force-fed to her. I still remember praying to the Lord during the episode, “Lord, help us!  Help us, Lord!  Are you there, Lord?  Help us!”

I was a lot like the father in this passage. I was a believer in Christ, had been for a long time. Yet where the rubber met the road was if I was willing to give this life-and-death situation to Him and trust Him to take control.

At that moment, I had to be transparent with Him. My faith seemed pretty small and insignificant. Yet God, in His overwhelming love and understanding of the fickle human heart, let me know that yes, He was there and in control. However he chose to answer (praise Him, He chose that the medicine would not harm Melanie), He would use it for His glory.

God honors the tiniest flame of faith in us. He wants to fan it into something BIG for Him, and isn’t it good to know He is the One who will make sure we’re not snuffed out, if we honestly cling to Him and His promises? I love the verse below because I so often feel that it’s talking about me! He will not crush my spirit; He will not extinguish my tiny, burning flame.

“A bruised reed He will not break, And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.” Isaiah 42:3, NAS

How about you? Has there been a time when you surrendered your flickering faith to the Lord and saw Him do something only He could do? Leave a comment so others can be built up in their faith by your story!

Thank You, Lord, that You hear the feeblest cry of anyone who approaches You. Life seems ready-made with troubles but we can be assured when we turn to You, You will hear Your children. You will answer. Help our unbelief, Lord!  Help us to hold boldly to what we know is true, always realizing You are the One in control, not us.  Through Jesus’ name only are we are able to come to You, Amen.


Lookin’ up,