Matthew 17:14-18 – When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. NIV
Jesus was patient with His disciples. God is patient. However, I believe that there is a time when God gets tired of trying to approach us and is constantly rebuffed. Jesus had imparted some of His power to these first disciples; but they were not yet able to perform the miracles that He did. From His questions and comments we are led to believe it was because of their unbelief or possibly their lack of total commitment to the mission of Jesus and/or becoming formed completely in the image of Jesus.
The disciples later asked Jesus why they couldn’t heal this boy, and He said it was because they had so little faith. These guys were with Jesus day after day; but still they lacked faith. Faith in what or who? I think that they probably had faith in Jesus; but they lacked the faith or confidence to believe that they could do the things that they had seen Jesus do. They lacked faith to believe that they had been given spiritual authority by Jesus.
I can certainly understand that. The Holy Spirit has gifted me in many ways, and I have certainly seen God work many wonderful things in my lifetime. However, the question lingers: What more could I have done or do if I exercised more faith? In what ways is my lack of spiritual growth and faith impeding the blessings God has in store for me and the mission of Jesus? In what areas of my life is Jesus (who loves me) saying: How long shall I put up with you? What can I do to respond to His love better?