"If You are Willing" is Better Than "If You Can"
As I read through the Gospel of Mark, I can't help but marvel that Jesus was amazed by a few things; after all, He is the creator of all things! And yet, He who searches hearts was amazed in His ministry by the gentiles and those who had faith in Him, and by His own people who lacked faith. At the beginning of His ministry, Mark notes a leper who pleaded with Jesus: "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Yet toward the end, after his many miracles, a man seeking salvation from an unclean Spirit tormenting his son said "If you can." To this, Jesus replied, likely exasperated at the unbelief:
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes." Mark 9:23 There is a big difference to these two pleas. The Leper knew Jesus could, but asked if he was willing, the father of the boy wondered at Jesus' power, and wondered if he could. How many of us approach Jesus, pleading "If you can?" Nowadays, I wonder if we don't see the miraculous as more mainstream in our daily walk with Christ because we ask "if you can" as opposed to "if you're willing." To ask if He is willing asks for His will, to ask if He can questions His ability. Faith requires us to seek His will and to expect Him to act. It is by no means lazy, but it is completely dependent upon His power to move. George Muller, who planted orphanages in the 1800s, lived off of prayer. His journals had some 10,000 recorded answers to prayer. evn one time recording that they had no money for breakfast, He and the orphans sat down to the table, prayed over the breakfast they did not have, when a bread cart broke down outside of their door, and to fix it, they needed to get all of the goods off. They gave it to the orphans who just sat down to pray for the breakfast they did not have, and God answered! This is what "If you're willing" looks like! This is the faith we need to have! We need to depend on Christ for all things, and He will take care of us. When you seek God, pray and do not doubt. Seek God's will, and He will not always give you what you desire, but will always give you what you need according to His will. Mark 9:14-29 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”