“If” We Could Only Change It: The Choice – 2 – Mark 9:19-23

Vol. 2, No. 40 – 10-1-2017

“O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?  Mark 9:19 But, if you can do anything . . . If you can! Mark 9:22-23a All things are possible to him who believes. Mark 9:23b

The boy was brought to Jesus, for the disciples had been unable to heal him. This is not simply a child. The question was asked relative to how long the “boy” had his condition. The reply indicated that the boy had the condition since he was a child. A long time.

The disciples were trained, schooled if you will, in how to address the problems of life. The tone of Jesus’ response issues in disappointment at not only His disciples, but also in the ones following along with Him (either as disciples or observers). It seemed that no one was able to alleviate the boy’s condition. Why? They did not follow their instructions. It is not unusual for leader “wanabes” to think they do not have to follow instructions; they simply act on their own merits.

So the next person they took the boy to see was begged to perform (if you can).

If” is an interesting word. It is hypothetical, speculative. It is in the realm of contemplation that imagines what might have been.

In our lifetime, the events on 9/11/2011 might have been different, “if.” If the circumstances had been different the events might have been avoided; if we had been better prepared; if our government had been more cognizant, or had used their skills appropriately. “If.”

If” in the biblical sense is more often considered “since.” The words that follow generally speak to some fact or truth the reader is to consider. Here, in Mark, the reader can sense the disappointment, concern, and small hope of the father. The disappointment seems almost bitter. The disciples failed. The father was in anguish. There was a sense that this was a “last ditch effort.”

While we live in a world of uncertainty, the truth and the works of God are certain—and dependable. Both believers and people of the earth need to learn this. Certainty rests with the Savior; uncertainty is a product of our speculations. The power of Christ is never diminished; never validly in question. Jesus plainly states, “All things are possible to him who believes.”

In the midst of disappointment and anguish, we need to make choices:

  • We need to understand where certainty lies
  • We need to understand Who really has the ability
  • We need to exercise faith
  • We need to unquestionably believe in His power
  • We need to unquestionably believe that God is limitless
  • We need to trust God when our hope seems to be shattered
  • We need to recognize Who to go to first of all (not as a “last ditch effort”)
  • We need to follow the instructions given by our leader

When we function as the head of a family, the head of a business, the head of a classroom, or as a leader, we need a sense of possibility—we need not to reside in an attitude impossibility, for we have a God of the possible.

Man does not have some magical formula that brings success. Man is not relegated to living under the “ifs” of life. God intends, expects,  that man would believe in Him, and follow Him; a sure path to eternal success.

It is easier to build a fence than to write a poem;  it is easier to paint a wall than to paint a picture; it is easier to work hard than to pray to the Lord; it is easier to see nothing than to see God—Scottish Divine

It is easier to not believe, to live in the “ifs.” Living in the “ifs” paralyzes our hearts and minds—becoming “stinking thinking.” If demands a choice. When we face the “ifs” we need to say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

Seems like a good title for a message series: “Living in the Ifs of Life.”

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

October 1, 2017

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