"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
- Mark 9:23 NKJV
When my husband's doctors did some diagnostic tests and discovered a very large growth in his neck sometime ago, they told him that he had a 90% chance of having cancer. When Joe first told me, I couldn't help but be afraid for him. I confess that I had a difficult time fighting off the fear for the first few hours after I got the news. But then I spent some time with the Lord in undistracted prayer. He spoke to my heart and made it clear that my own faith would play a part in my husband's outcome. Frankly, I didn't think that was very fair or reasonable, but knowing God the way I do, I was pretty sure that He wasn't going to change His mind. So I dug into God's Word and began meditating on Scriptures that dealt with this very subject.
In Chapter 8 of the Gospel of Luke, we read about a man named Jairus, a synagogue ruler, who asks Jesus to come to his home to heal his dying daughter. On the way, someone from Jairus' house intercepts them, telling them that the daughter is dead, and there's no need for the Master to come. Hearing the news, Jesus turns to Jairus and says, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." (Luke 8:50 NIV) The ruler follows the Savior's lead, and witnesses the raising of his daughter from the dead. When one of our loved ones is threatened with illness or another kind of harm, the Lord may tell US--"Don't get into fear. YOU stay in faith, and I will work on their behalf." The fact is, we limit God's involvement when we fail to stay in faith in seemingly hopeless or dead situations. Lay down your faith prematurely, and you could miss out on the miracle that God had in store for your loved one all along.
One of the most impressive displays of faith in Scripture is recorded in Chapter 2 of Mark's Gospel. Four friends of a paralytic man are carrying him on a mat to Jesus. Because they cannot get through the door of the house that the Master is in because of the crowd, they dig a hole in the roof, and lower their friend down right in front of Him. Scripture says, "When Jesus SAW their faith," He responded by rewarding the paralytic with a miracle healing. (Mark 2:5 NIV) I love the way the Living Bible puts it: "When Jesus SAW how strongly they believed that He would help..." Those four friends were so sure that the Messiah would heal their friend, that their belief moved them to action. When a loved one of ours has a need, we must show God our faith in His ability and willingness to help. We must go to the Lord and ask, "What can I do to demonstrate my faith in You in this situation?" Then we must do what we sense He is telling us to do.
I think the Scripture passage in Mark 9 was the one that spoke to my heart the most when my husband's health was at stake. Here, a father approaches Jesus on behalf of his son, who is being tormented by an evil spirit. When the man asks if there's anything that the Savior can do, the Lord's response is: "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23 NKJV) Notice how Jesus turns the tables on the man, and shows him that it's not the Master's ability that is in question, but the man's own faith. By pointing to the man's faith as the focus here, the Lord puts the responsibility on him. He is, in effect, saying: "Yes, I have the ability--but do YOU have the faith? If so, anything can happen!" Our faith on behalf of another person can open the door to God's miracle-working power.
Devoting myself to prayer, and God's Word and promises, enabled me to stay in faith for my husband's healing. When the time came for Joe's biopsy, no growth could be found. Today, why not ask the Lord, "Could I be reading this message because You have something miraculous in store for one of MY loved ones?"
Prayer: Lord, when You call me to stand in faith on someone else's behalf, please help me not to shy away from the challenge. Teach me how to grow strong in spirit by spending regular, undistracted time in Your Word, and in prayer. Thank You that as I answer the call of faith, I will witness Your wonder-working power!
- J. M. Farro