They Could Not

Written by Julie

On July 29, 2020

Another selection from Awaken by Priscilla Shirer.

A devastated father fell to his knees before the Messiah. He explained in desperation that his beloved son was terribly sick, suffering from seizures and bouts of epileptic craziness. The father’s heart broke for his child. He wanted, more than all else, to see him in good health.

The fact that we see this man positioned before Jesus when the narrative begins in Matthew 17 leads us to believe that he started his quest for healing here, in this moment, before the Healer. But Matthew quickly clears up the misconception by chronicling what this tearful father said to Jesus, how he’d already “brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him” (v. 16 ESV).

They could not.

But they should have.

This father was not only desperate but also disappointed. His encounter with Jesus’ closest companions had left his questions unanswered, his son unhealed, his heart still broken. Nothing had changed even though he’d encountered men for whom Jesus had given “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matt. 10:1). Even without the Messiah’s physical presence, the disciples had been empowered to work the Messiah’s wonders. An encounter with them should have been as fruitful as an encounter with Him.

Instead, what a shame. . . they could not.

You, adopted child, have been endowed with God’s Spirit. You are a temple in which God’s power and presence pulsates. This gift is not only intended to enable communion between you and your Father, but also to empower you to function as His hands and feet within your sphere of influence. Those who have yet to encounter Him should encounter His power through you. They should never leave your presence in a state of spiritual dissonance–saddened and discontented that their encounter with a Jesus follower left no proof of Jesus’ power.

Their deepest questions should find discerning answers.

Their practical needs should find generous solutions.

Their hurting heart should find redemption and reawakening.

Their entire lives should be touched by the supernatural. . . through you.

May there never be a solitary person to leave our presence saying of us, They could not. Because by His Spirit, we can. We must.

Today, may you recognize the power you’ve been given by the God of heaven to be the answer to someone else’s prayer.

Not by your power. Not by your might.

But by the Spirit of God.


Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of this story like this. “They could not.” They should have, but they couldn’t.

And to think, we have that same power. God is living inside of us, and can touch others through us. We–puny, weak humans–can be the God of the Universe’s hands and feet and voice and-and we can see others through His eyes and listen with His ears. And we can change somebody’s life. Correction: God can change somebody’s life using us.

But being God’s ambassador to others requires work. Sacrifice. Willingness to step out, step up. Spending time with God and in His Word. Praying, “Father, what do You want me to do?” Allowing His love to flow through us, His joy to shine on our faces, His peace to surround us like a blanket.

That’s what non-believers expect, I think. Like, they know we’re Christians, they know we profess to serve a God of love and peace, etc. So when they don’t have that, and they want answers or encouragement or prayer, they’re gonna come to us. They’re not going to go to their non-Christian buddies and be like, “Hey, can you pray for me?” or whatever. No, they’ll come to us!

And when we can’t do that–when we can’t help them in any way or make them feel better or anything. . . What does that do to our testimony? Do you think they’ll really believe us or believe our God or want anything to do with our religion? Can you imagine them coming to us–like the father in this story–desperate, hoping we’ll be able to do something. . . and having their hopes dashed to the ground? Having to walk away saying “They could not”?

Yeah, we can’t fix everything for everybody. We can’t always help them work out a situation, or make the pain go completely away, or whatever. But I believe we should be able to at least cheer them up a bit or tell them “I’m praying for you” (and actually mean it!); I believe they should see/feel Jesus in and because of us.

“Today, may you recognize the power you’ve been given by the God of heaven to be the answer to someone else’s prayer.”



Hi, I'm Julie, a 18-year-old lover of books, music, and Jesus. I'm a senior in high school (Abeka Academy) and have been blogging for three years. I also co-publish a digital magazine called Priceless geared toward teen girls. My desire is to use my words to glorify my Saviour and to encourage you in your walk with God. I'd love to hear from you!

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