“ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Mark 9:23 NIV
Do you remember the children's story of "The Little Engine That Could" by Walter Patty? A long train needed to be pulled over the mountain. The job was passed over by other trains, but at last, the little engine volunteered for the job. At one point, faced by a very steep hill, the little engine is put to the test. The climb is challenging, but it keeps on puffing up the grade saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." Finally, as it gets over the hill, it says to itself, "I thought I could, I thought I could."
Immediately following the transfiguration story, a man brings his demon-possessed son to be healed by the disciples, and they tried but could not. The desperate father appeals directly to Jesus, saying 'If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus responds with “If you can?” to paraphrase “Of course I can.” Jesus’ exclamation is an answer to the father’s doubt and response to the disciples’ inability to heal. Later, privately in answer to the disciple’s question of why they were not able to cast out the demon, he responded, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
We hear two things in this story. First, that Jesus heals -- no question, he has, he can, and he will. Second, we need to believe that Jesus can heal when we pray. Does that mean that we will always be healed? Not always, sometimes we may not receive physical healing; it may not be God’s plan for us. Instead, his plan may include something far more significant -- though hard for us to believe. However, that should never stop us from praying for healing with confidence.
Precious God, we give thanks for healing. Sometimes you grant us physical healing, but you always provide spiritual healing. We confess that at times struggle with belief; we allow Satan to tell us we can’t when you tell us we can. Lord, help us in our times of doubt. Let us in our faith be like the little engine with the full knowledge that through you "We—know—we—can, We—know—we—can." In all things, we have faith that what You choose is best for us. Let your will be done. We pray this in Jesus’ our Healer. Amen.