To feel helpless is to be hopeless. All hope of rescue or relief, of an answer or assistance, is gone.
The helpless one has exhausted all resources and the problem remains. All one can do is seek a higher power. This was the case for a man and his son and for the Lord’s disciples.
A Disrupted Home
A father came kneeling to Jesus, desperate for help and finding none to this point.
“Lord, have mercy on my son…”
He had gone through channels, asking the disciples to cast out the demon tormenting his son and disrupting their home. The foul spirit affected the boy’s mental processes giving him violent seizures. The boy was tossed about by the demon, even into the fire and into deep waters. The man was helpless before this hellish invasion. The disciples did their best but they, too, were helpless in dealing with this particular demon. It was in a class they had never before encountered.
Jesus responded in kindness to the man and with impatience toward His disciples. When would they learn?
“O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?
How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
Jesus rebuked the demon and it left the boy immediately. Later, the disciples asked why the demon obeyed Jesus but not them. Why were they helpless in the face of this one demon? Jesus informed them that sometimes fasting is required in addition to prayer. This was that kind of demon.
Trading Helplessness for Hope
When we do not have the answers, we must remember that Jesus does have them. The answers may be beyond our capacity to understand but that does not make us hopeless—we remain hopeful because Jesus is our hope. He is never helpless so we are never hopeless. It may be that we need to turn up our spiritual thermostats a bit and pray more or pray better. It would be good to add fasting to our prayers. Find scriptures to memorize and act upon. The Christ-follower is never hopeless although we may feel helpless.
Mustard Seed and Mountains
The helplessness of the disciples came from inadequate faith. Jesus called it unbelief. Therefore the hope of the disciples and for us is in believing—faith! All it takes to move the mountain in our path that intimidates us and makes us feel helpless is faith the size of a mustard seed. With this faith, we can speak to mountains and watch the earth quake as the mountain moves out of our way.
Tough Times Ahead
Jesus knew what was coming for His men. They would indeed be helpless in the Garden when Jesus was arrested and taken from them. Without hope, they would scatter like frightened birds when He was tried in the courts of men. They would cower in the shadows of the darkened mid-day sun when Jesus died on the cross. They would huddle together in hopelessness while Jesus lingered in the tomb.
Finally, the message of what was to come started getting through to the men “…and they were exceedingly sorrowful.”
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he (“has seizures” NIV)… and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
Lord Jesus, You are my help and my hope. You have promised never to leave me or forsake me. Therefore, when I cannot feel Your presence, You are still with me. When I feel forsaken, it simply isn’t true—You are still with me. When I feel helpless, I will deliberately set my hopes on You in greater measure, disciplining the mind and the body. No demonic force that will ever attack me is stronger than You. Today I am neither helpless or hopeless. I am divinely assisted and my heart rests in great hope. Thank You, Lord! Amen.
O God Our Help in Ages Past
Words: Isaac Watts; Music: William Croft
1. Our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
our Shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal Home.
2. Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is Thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.
3. Before the hills in order stood
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting Thou art God,
to endless years the same.
4. A thousand ages in Thy sight
are like an ev’ning gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.
5. Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op’ning day.
6. Our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
be Thou our Guide while life shall last,
and our eternal Home!
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.