22 Oct Parents, Never Give Up!
Being a parent and bringing up our children in God’s ways is a very challenging mission in these days. As you know, children are God’s gifts (Psalm 127:3). But some of them may go astray from God’s ways due to various reasons. You may be discouraged, disheartened and even lose hope because of your wayward son/daughter. Never give up! I believe that a miracle performed in the life of a young man by our Lord Jesus Christ will strengthen your faith and renew your hope. It is recorded in three of the four gospels. (Matthew 17:14-21 / Mark 9:14-29 / Luke 9:37-42)
Let us analyse this miracle as recorded in Mark 9:14-29 (NKJV):
And when Jesus came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child (young man) was cured from that very hour. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
He was the only child of his father. (Luke 9:18) He was a young man according to Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, for Matthew 17:18 (“Mark 9:21 implies, as indeed the Greek does here, that the sufferer had passed beyond the age of childhood”. /also mentioned in Matthew 17:18; Luke 9:42 -Tamil Bible). He was possessed by an evil spirit even from his childhood (V21). So he was suffering for many years. Many times the evil spirit tried to kill him by throwing him into water and fire. So his life was in danger. As he was under the control of the evil spirit he had lost his freedom and free-will. He could not do anything on his own. His parents could not help him to be delivered.
He did not blame God or anyone else for the pathetic condition of his only child. But he was very loving and compassionate to his demon-possessed son. His love was unconditional. He did not disown him. He did not abuse him either verbally or physically. For many years he was vigilant and watchful to save his son from death. His relatives, friends and neighbours would have blamed or mocked him to have such a son. But he was not ashamed to identify himself with his demon-possessed son. He did not give up the hope regarding the healing of his son. Even though his attempt to get the healing through the disciples of Jesus was a failure, he did not lose heart. Although he was filled with unbelief, he came to Jesus Christ and prayed to grant him faith. His pleading was answered and the son was miraculously healed.
Lessons for the parents:
Let us accept our children even if they do not fulfil our desires and expectations. We should shower our love on them without any conditions. If any of our children go astray, let us humble ourselves and not be ashamed to be his/her parent. As a parent, our motive should be to help and rescue our child from any sinful habit or addiction. Sometimes gifted servants of God may not be able to bring healing or deliverance to their own children. Never give up hope. Let us approach God directly through Jesus Christ, our compassionate High Priest to receive His mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:15, 16). Let us reflect the love of our Father God who manifests His compassion by not constantly accusing, nor remaining angry with us nor punishing us for all our sins or deal harshly with us, as we deserve. (Psalm 103:9, 10, 13 NLT). Know that Jesus promised “with God all things are possible.” in the context of salvation of souls (Matthew 19:25, 26).
But do what Lord Jesus commanded the grief-stricken women on the way to His crucifixion: “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children”. Let us regularly fast and pray for the spiritual healing of our children as Jesus instructed in Mark 9:29. I think no other person can pray fervently, consistently and faithfully like a parent for his/her own child. It is a great encouragement to know that Monica -mother of St. Augustine (354-430 A.D. – a Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of western philosophy and western Christianity) prayed persistently for his salvation for more than thirty years!
We should never be an irresponsible parent by depending on the prayers of any preacher or God’s servant. To know/hear that our children are walking in God’s truth (not that they are billionaires / achievers) should bring us greatest joy (3 John 4).
May our Almighty God bless you and your children as He has promised in Isaiah 8:18 “Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion”.
Mr. Abraham Jebaveeran lives in a North Indian city with his wife and youngest son. They are ministering to young people including university students.