Dealing with teenagers

Our text this morning was Mark 9:14-29, which is traditionally read as a healing of a boy with epilepsy. A father cries out to Jesus, “Master, I brought my son to you because he has a dumb spirit. Wherever he is, it gets hold of him, throws him down on the ground and there he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth. It’s simply wearing him out.” Our minister broadened it to include our teenage children. Sometimes parents get the feeling that their kids have been invaded by a “dumb spirit!” They might not all actually foam at the mouth but it sometimes it feels like that. The father bewails the fact that the spirit has sometimes thrown his son into the fire! Which parent, I wonder, has not wondered at times whether their child was playing with fire, metaphorically speaking. Jesus’ advice to the father and the bystanders at the end of the story rings down through the years, “This sort of problem,” he says, “can only be healed with prayer.” Amen. And perhaps a bit of hope and patience. Most of us grow up! All of us need a bit of prayer along the way.

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