The first thing that strikes me is this: as soon as there is any excuse to complain about God's timing there are always plenty of authoritative folks who are happy to help stir the fear and be discouraging. Often they are folks who worship at the altar of "realistic expectations." But as an acquaintance of mine once said, 'Lack of faith does not change reality.' So I have learned to tune out the static.
The next thing I connect with in this story is what the father is pleading: "Help my child!" As a parent I can be pretty desperate in my desire to help my child. This father may not have traveled around seeking the young Teacher for his own healing, but for his child he will make every effort.
But like me, I approach God wondering if He will help! Sometimes I wonder if God can help. So my prayer is squishy: Can You help? Will You help? Am I asking the right way? What will I do if I don't get what I want here. Then the biggest fear of all, what if God gives me what I ask but it turns out some way I am not happy with? The core question is "Do I truly trust God?"
The next part has bears me up in my darkest hours: with this father I say, "I do believe, I WANT to believe, I'm willing to believe but don't know if I'm doing it right." You notice that I am already in trouble because my approach to God is still...yes...all about me. So this is where the biggest punch is for me. The father says, "I believe, but then he pleads, 'Lord, help me believe." For me this is "Lord, help it be about You instead of me. Let my eyes see clearly by Your Grace. Give me the words so that my prayer may be sweet in Your ear and give me faith that all Your covenants are true. Take my fear way that I may Love fully." At no time has this prayer been sweeter than when my beloved child was spiraling through the legal system and now as he continues rebuilding his life.
Then the last part just gives me a chuckle because I am SO like these disciples who were puzzled when their own efforts had been publicly unsuccessful because--Jesus tells them they needed to use prayer. Part of me thinks, what else is there to use? Then I remember how often I try to help others and only after all MY efforts (filled with good intentions) have failed or even made things seem worse, do I stop and pray for help. Duh! I need prayer covering all my relationships. Well, at least these folks who walked with Jesus day-to-day, saw the miracles with their own eyes, heard His teaching with their own ears, even these folks missed the "prayer" component! They learned as their faith deepened; so, Lord, may I.
Thank you God for the tender, loving stories You included as You inspired the Bible. Help me to keep my heart open to Your Spirit as you teach me to pray, direct my reading of Your messages, open my eyes to opportunities for service and guard me from in any way harming the faith of another as I grow in Your Grace. AMEN
*This is found in the 9th chapter of Mark beginning at the 14th verse.