I am very slowly making my way through the book of Matthew. By slowly, I mean the slugs that break into our mud room could show me up. I have been working on Matthew for a couple of months and I am only in chapter 17. This is because I have to do my devotions in the morning, and my brain just is not functioning enough to read and process more than a few verses at a time at 6 a.m. Judging by the booming coffee industry, I really don’t think I am alone in that inability.
Here is the passage that I was chewing on this morning:
First, I have to confess that after reading that episode my initial thought was one of relief. Relief, because the disciples weren’t perfect Christ –followers and their prayers evidently weren’t always answered. As twisted as it is, doesn’t that knowledge allow you to breathe a sigh of relief?
And that’s when it hit me.
You see, we are human, the disciples were human, the poor epileptic/demon possessed boy was also human, and then there is Jesus. While he is fully God AND fully man, He is still fully God. If you notice in this passage, Jesus calls those men closest to Him, who He’s been pouring into and working miracles through a “faithless and twisted generation.” Newsflash Devra, unfortunately, I fall in the same category.
I know that seems like a hopeless note, but turn the corner with me, apply this scripture to my life, and find the silver lining with me.
So often I get so busy, busy with good things and good intentions. I find that I have tripped over a booby trap and ended up in a place where I am trying to do everything, treating the world as my own personal project. When you find yourself there, I can tell you, you will burn out. I have been involved in a lot of Bible studies and outreaches, and time and time again either myself or a cohort of mine gives up because we aren’t seeing the positive results that we were hoping for.
I know the frustration the disciples must have felt when they couldn’t cast that demon out. I have been there. I have so desperately wanted Person A to change a bad habit or for Person B to have a miraculous healing or Person C’s family life improve…. Or whatever that milestone is that will let me feel like I’ve accomplished something. When those milestones never come, I burn out. The disciples had cast out demons before. They know what’s supposed to happen, but they couldn’t make it happen.
I can’t do everything. I can’t make things happen either.
The thing I can do is take that person or that circumstance to Jesus. I can admit that on my own I can’t do it. I can say “Jesus, you know I love you and I believe in you, but I am only a human with small faith.” Maybe Jesus will intervene in an awesome way or maybe he won’t. What I can guarantee is that when ministry stops being a project for which I desire a certain result, and starts becoming me bringing others along with me in my friendship with Jesus it is more enjoyable and fulfilling than any miracle I’ve witnessed.
I am on a journey lately, to stop seeing the outworking of my faith as a score sheet of problems and ailments fixed, but rather as friendships with Jesus shared. Jesus values people and the process of growing closer to Him more than He values a showy transformation.
What are proverbial epileptic boys in your life do you need to bring to Jesus? What are you trying to make happen all on your own?