A Faithless Generation

One of my favorite passages in the Scripture has always been the story of a man who had a demon-possessed son who brought him to Jesus’ disciples to have the demon cast out (Mark 9). However, the disciples were not able to get the job done, and Jesus’ response is that they are a “faithless generation.” I’ve always thought that this statement was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek chastisement of His followers… or perhaps a way of getting onto them the way a coach would get on to his players. Maybe that’s the truth of it… but maybe there’s something more to consider… something insidious in the hearts and minds of man…

I’ve had a lot of experiences with God and His Spirit that I cannot really explain. These experiences were not necessarily times when a miracle occurred, but more often than not, they were times when I genuinely felt His real presence. It was nearly palpable. Or they were instances of divinely orchestrated timing that could not have been mere coincidence. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve had plenty of moments… more than enough… to substantiate my belief in the supernatural. I’m not saying I’ve got empirical evidence, because then faith would be unnecessary, but I’ve definitely got plenty of evidence. An example of what I mean is something like: I don’t have to see Mount Rushmore to believe it exists, but I believe it does due to the overwhelming amount of evidence with which I’ve been presented. To see it would be empirical evidence of its existence. But the evidence I have is strong enough that I can have “faith” that it does.

Interestingly, even though I rarely question the existence of God and/or the supernatural, if someone comes to me and tells me that they have a situation involving and evil spirit… they’ve seen someone divinely healed… or they have a “Word from the Lord,” I’m very skeptical. Now, let me be clear: We should not simply accept everything people say as the truth, obviously. There were charlatans as well as people that just misunderstood things in the time of Jesus just like there are now. But… my tendency is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If someone told me their child was afflicted by a demon, I would (at least internally) scoff and begin to make a judgement on the type of person I was dealing with.

This is a strange juxtaposition within myself…

Because…

I believe in the supernatural (meaning that which is beyond or above the natural), yet anytime someone comes to me with anything that points to the reality of the supernatural, I look to explain it away, even if I’m only thinking about this explanation to myself.

So…

I “believe” in God and therefore I “believe” in those things that cannot be explained by natural language, information, or understanding… yet…

When I’m presented with a possible instance of the supernatural, my immediate reaction is to blow it off…?

Maybe you’ve always realized that this was possibly what Jesus was getting onto His disciples about, or maybe I’m not totally correct. Perhaps they just didn’t have “enough” faith to deal with the situation. But here’s what I think: We cannot engage or affect something we claim to believe… and even believe we believe… if we actually refuse to accept it as a possible reality. I know that sentence’s wording is a bit confusing, just go back and re-read it a couple times and consider it.

Like anything, we can carry all of this too far. We can become superstitious within the Christian framework very easily. But we can also become gnostic (meaning a denial of the supernatural in this context).

The man is standing there… distraught over his boy. He is the only one that truly gets it. He’s really honest and says something we should all say more often: “I believe; help my unbelief!” In other words, “I thought I believed, and I intend on believing, but apparently I’m struggling to believe and I desperately need help with that!” Of course, Jesus takes care of business and straightens out the situation. He tells the disciples that the only way a situation like this can be handled is if we’re truly prepared, both mind and body. This was one of those times when things got very real and the only way it could have been handled was if limited humanity was willing to accept the reality of things we truly don’t understand.

I take waaaaaayyyyyy too much pride in my ability to debate and spew out information. There’s a time and place for such, to be sure… but it is for nothing if I don’t actually believe the things I’m talking about.

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2 comments on “A Faithless Generation

  1. Barry Fisher says:

    “but it is for nothing if I don’t actually believe the things I’m talking about.”
    Ouch! That stings!

  2. Adam Revell says:

    I was raised pentecostal so I have experienced the presents of GOD but I’ve also experienced alot of fake as well. I have definitely become more skeptical but I’ve had more real experiences than not so I know God is real and he can do supernatural things in people’s lives. But a little skepticism is healthy cause the bible does say try the spirit to see if it’s real.

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