He’d been like this since childhood. We aren’t told when the seizures started, but they may have started shortly after birth. What we do know is that the seizures were caused by an evil spirit that would often throw the boy to the ground. We know the spirit never left the boy and would try to kill him by thowing him into fire or water.

Can you imagine the anxiety the parents must have had trying to watch their sons every move. They lived by the sea and cooked and warmed themselves with open fire. Water and fire were the things the demon would use to try to destroy his victim. How much fear was there in going to sleep at night, hearing every sound and wondering if it was another seizure? Was he going to the fire again?

Then there was the spiritual side of things. From all indications, the parents were believers. How many extra sacrifices were made on behalf of the child? There could have been many for the father seemed to be a religious man. But religion had failed. Healers had failed. No one was able to help. As an added burden, demon possession, was considered prime proof of sin. If the child were demon possessed then there were surely questions by the priests that needed to be answered about the family.

One day, the father hears about a holy man that was healing people. Demons were being cast out. The lame were walking. The Blind were seeing. There were rumors that some had even risen from the dead!

With anxious anticipation the father scoops up his son and goes in search of the holy man, the great teacher. It didn’t matter how far he had to go. This was his son and he would take every opportunity to seek healing.

Finally, he finds a great crowd of people. He asks a person standing nearby.

“Have you seen him? The healer, is he here?”

“He was here, but he went up the mountain with three of his followers. Those men over there were with him. Ask them.”

He hurries to the front of the crowd. As he waits for an opening he hears the men tell the crowd of the teacher, and how he had bestowed power on them to heal the sick. This was his chance! The excitement mounts.

“Sir!” He shouts, “Over here! My boy, he has a demon. Can you help me?”

The men move towards the boy. They lay hands on him and command the spirit to leave. Immediately, the boy begins to convulse. He throws himself to the ground and writhes in agony.

Fear grips the crowd. Despair falls upon the disappointed father. Confusion stirs among the followers of the teacher. They begin to discuss among themselves what went wrong. Then a shout rings out.

“There they are! There is the teacher and his men!”

The crowd hurries with the boy and his father to meet them.

“What is the problem?” The teacher asks, looking at the now tired boy.

“Sir, it’s my son. He has a demon. I asked your men to help, but they couldn’t. If you can, please help us.”

“IF you can?” The teacher responded. “Anything is possible if you believe.”

All the years of frustration welled up in the father. He DID believe. At least he wanted to believe. But the seizures hadn’t stopped. The sacrifices hadn’t helped. The prayers were unanswered. The accusations continued to be hurled at him.

Each of us have gone through periods of time when God seemed a thousand miles away. He seemed uninterested, or unable to help. Like the father in the story, each of us, in our own way have uttered the same words.

“I DO believe. Help me in my unbelief!”

From that moment, the father and his child were changed for eternity.

From “When Grace Isn’t Enough: Living Grace-fully in God’s Silence”

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