The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

A New Perspective

12 December 2010

I'm probably the last Christian on the planet to get this, but I'm excited about it, so bear with me. Our sermons this month our on the topic of belief, doubt, and unbelief. This morning we looked at the story in Mark 9:14-24.

At the foot of the mountain they found a great crowd surrounding the other disciples, as some teachers of religious law were arguing with them.

The crowd watched Jesus in awe as he came toward them, and then they ran to greet him.

"What is all this arguing about?" he asked.

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, "Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him. He can't speak because he is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk.

And whenever this evil spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth and become rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it."

Jesus said to them, "You faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."

So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

"How long has this been happening?" Jesus asked the boy's father. He replied, "Since he was very small.

The evil spirit often makes him fall into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can."

"What do you mean, `If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."

The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!"

I don't know about you, but I've always felt like Jesus was a little ticked with everybody throughout this encounter. He seemed short, maybe even scornful. But this afternoon, as I meditated on this passage, I totally changed my mind. I'm not really even sure how I could have ever seen Jesus having even an edge of nastiness toward this desperate man.

Now, to be sure, he was probably a little edgy when he rebuked the people for being an "unbelieving generation." But, frankly, I don't think he was responding directly to the father who had just spoken to him. Nor do I think (now) that he was rebuking his own disciples. I think he was upset with religious folks who liked to stir up unbelief and arguments. This poor, desperate father came to the disciples seeking healing for his traumatized son. You can just hear the taunting and derision coming from the scribes before the disciples really even have a chance to petition God to heal him. No wonder Jesus was upset with them.

Later, with the son convulsing and seizing right beside them, the father pleads with Jesus, "But if you can, take pity on us and help us!" Picturing this scene in my mind, I see this father dissolving under the combined weight of his son's problem and his extreme disappointment. He has probably tried every doctor, every spiritist, every possible avenue of restoration for his son, all to no avail. I see him on one knee, weeping streams of tears down his cheeks as he describes to Jesus how his son's ailment has caused him to nearly kill himself more than once. And, when he asks for Jesus' pity, I simply can't see my Jesus responding in any other way.

As the camera in my mind shifts it's focus to Jesus, I see a depth of compassion in his eyes that this father has never seen in any healer's eyes before. I see my Lord's hand on this man's shoulder as he gently beckons him from doubt to belief, "If you can? All things are possible to him who believes." It's like he's saying, "I know you don't know me yet, but I love you with every cell in my body, and the same for your son. I can do this. Believe me, I can and will do this for you."

You know how I know that Jesus is not rebuking him, scoffing at him as I once thought? Well, first of all it just doesn't fit into Jesus' character. But, listen to the father's response: "Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, 'I do believe; help my unbelief.'" If Jesus had been anything but kind and gentle, I can't see this father throwing himself further into the encounter. He would have withdrawn, realizing he didn't have the kind of faith required. But, what really happened is that he threw himself further onto the mercy of Jesus. The mercy Jesus showed him encouraged him to ask for more help.

I wonder how often I've wrongly expected Jesus to be harsh with me when all he really had was compassion for me. I wonder what I've missed out on because I thought he would rebuke me instead of embrace me. Makes me kinda sad to think about that. But, one thing's for sure--I won't so easily make that mistake again!


My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued