DayBreaks for 6/11/14 – The Thug Loses
NOTE: This week’s DayBreaks are from the archives of June, 2004.
I am a professional basketball fan. More to the point, I’m a Lakers fan (and in 2014 it’s been a hard year to say that!!!) They’re not in the playoffs this year (2014) fighting for the right to get to the NBA Championship Finals. And fighting may be exactly the right term. I must confess that the playoffs so far seem more like a fight than a basketball game. They’re usually extremely physical and there are lots of hard fouls. When that happens, you want the biggest, baddest guy you can find on your side. You hate it if that guy is on the other team.
Some fights are about matters much more serious than basketball. Such a tale is recorded for us in Scripture in Mark the 9th chapter. A father comes to Jesus with his young son, and the father tells Jesus the horrible story about the effect the possessed son experiences from the demons: they throw him into water trying to drown him, or into the fire trying to burn him. All the attempts by the father to get some healing for the boy have failed – including the disciples themselves. So the father comes with a simple, brutally honest request of Jesus: But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. Listen as Mark Buchanan, in Your God is Too Safe, finishes the story: “If you can? Jesus says. Perhaps in His voice there is, like a bristle of splinters at a board’s edge, some jaggedness of offense or annoyance: ‘What do you mean, ‘If you can’? Or maybe he says it with a wry laugh tickling up beneath the surface of sternness: ‘If you can’? That’s a good one. Of course I can!’ Or maybe He says it as a brother who, being tempted in all the ways we are, is able to sympathize with this man’s weakness: ‘If you can’? Let me assure you, I can. I really can.
“Everything is possible for him who believes,” Jesus tells him.
And the man blurts out: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mk. 9:14-19).
That is deeply poignant. The boy has been like this for a long time, since childhood. For years this father has watched his little son, his limbs thin as saplings, his chest a pale washboard of bones, fight a power he’s no match for. No father would stand and simply watch a thug thrash his little boy. But this father’s been forced to do that. Day after day, in angry desperate helplessness, he’s been forced to stand and witness a demon – merciless, gloating, gruesome – pummel his child, bent on destruction.”
This is a mini-capsule of the history and plan of God. We, like the father in the story, are forced to watch as the demons batter not only us, but those we love through hatred, anger, grief, sin. And we, like the father, sometimes despair because the enemy seems so hopelessly overpowering. And we crawl to Jesus, hoping against hope that though we’ve tried religion before, that perhaps there is something different about this Jesus – even though his followers couldn’t do the job, maybe (please, dear God!), he can beat the thug that rules this world.
We don’t have to wonder if he can beat Satan. He already did – with a big, ugly stick called a cross.
Matthew 12:29 (NLT) – Let me illustrate this. You can’t enter a strong man’s house and rob him without first tying him up. Only then can his house be robbed!
Copyright by 2014 Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: Lord, help us not fear the enemy as long as You are with us!! In Your name, Amen.
Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple
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