This is the fourth entry in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Mr. Robert Kates member of Cathedral of Hope, UCC in Dallas, TX and student at Brite Divinity School, working on a ThM in Pastoral Care. This devotional reflects the views of the author and not the views of UCCDM.
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.’ While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God. Luke 9:37 – 43a.
Today we continue to relearn Epilepsy, this disease that inhibits life experiences, frightens strangers, and can cause death. The author of Luke, writes in the context of their time. When someone fell on the ground convulsing and foaming at the mouth, they were obviously possessed by a demon. No wonder Jesus’ disciples could not cast out the boy’s ‘demon.’
Today we realize the boy had no demon. He had Epilepsy. And perhaps the boy stopped convulsing when Jesus prayed over him, being cured or not. There is still no cure for this disease. I truly want to believe Jesus cured the boy. For I agree with Luke 9:43, “And all were astounded at the greatness of God.” God still amazes every day.
Through the advancement of our God given intellect, scientists and physicians have created drug therapies for Epilepsy that can lessen its outwards affects, resulting in less harm and stigma placed on those effected.
Unfortunately today, some people still consider convulsions and foaming at the mouth, as being possessed by a demon. Some even refuse modern medical care to treat this disease.
Jesus’ disciples could not cast out the demon, however nearly two thousand years later, our human abilities to bring comfort and remission of this disease to those less fortunate has excelled. Perhaps not like Jesus, our efforts cannot cure as yet. However I do believe that someday a cure will be found. “…for [through] God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26