Summary: There is no more helpless feeling in the world than being a parent with a dying child. That was the experience of the man in today’s passage. Out of his desperation, he came to Jesus. But because of the grace of Christ, that’s not how he left.
Many of you remember what was going on last year in Lakeland, FL. Around this time last year, Todd Bentley began making national headlines for the Lakeland Revival. Reports of 10,000 people per night came to see him and participate in these events. What attracted so many people to his events was the promise of physical healing. Whether you’re talking about Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Kenneth Copeland, Peter Popoff, Benny Hinn or a whole host of others they all promise the same thing. They promise that if you have enough faith, God is obligated to heal you through them. Of course, to them, having enough faith is often tied to how much money you give them. How completely and totally contrary to Scripture! You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to see what a fake these people are. And not just a fake. By all the standards of Scripture, each of them is considered a false prophet. Each is a false prophet who blasphemously invokes the name of God for their own vile purposes. They invoke the name of God to defraud people and take advantage of them in their weakest times of trouble. And people continue to watch them and support them and send them money. And worse yet, people continue to put their hope in them. But those of us who read and study the Bible should not be fooled, should we? Let me tell you a story about Dr. William Dembski.
Dr. Dembski is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of our Southern Baptist seminaries. By all accounts, he is a godly man and a wonderful, conservative Christian scholar. His theology is rock solid. Dr. Dembski is married with three children, two of whom are 7-year old twins. One of the twin boys is severely autistic. Many of us here are parents. As a parent, there is no more helpless feeling than when your child is sick. When CJ was in neonatal intensive care for 10 days after he was born, that was a horribly helpless feeling. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be told that your child has a disease like autism. Or to be told your child is dying. Out of that helplessness, a parent will do anything if there is a chance it will restore their child. That is what Dr. Dembski did. Contrary to his theology. Contrary to his reasoning and logic. Contrary to everything he had taught. He packed up his family, drove 130 miles and went to a Todd Bentley service in Denton, TX, July 3rd, last year. In his mind, he knew that God has the power to heal. He knew that God still will heal. But in his helpless desperation, he reached out to Bentley as the possible avenue of God’s healing. Of course, he was disappointed. As his wife took their 7-year old, severely autistic boy forward for healing, they were turned away after waiting for over an hour. In Dr. Dembski’s words, “Our son was refused prayer twice because he didn’t look the part…. And even those who looked the part seemed to look no better after Bentley’s prayer—the exodus from the arena of people [still] bound in wheelchairs was poignant.” The desperation of a helpless Daddy who knew better, led him to go to a man who plays on people’s desperation to take advantage of them. That speaks volumes for the ones who play on people’s desperation like that. But it also speaks volumes about the lengths a parent will go for their children. We are doers. We like to be able to fix things. And when we are faced with a situation we can’t fix, we feel helpless. And out of our helplessness, we become desperate. And when we become desperate, sometimes we look to things that we know won’t work. But when we are helpless and desperate, sometimes we feel better doing anything than doing nothing. I told that story not to highlight the false prophets. I told that story to highlight the helpless desperation of a daddy who would give anything to see his little boy healed. A daddy who could do absolutely nothing for his boy, but just had to do something.