The Essential Ingredient: If You Can

The Essential Ingredient: If You Can

Christ and the Young Child
Carl Bloch, 1873
Carl Bloch – The Master’s Hand 

BYU Museum of Art – December 2010

A talk that will almost certainly go down as a General Conference Classic is Elder Jeffrey Holland’s talk ‘Lord I Believe’. The foundation of his talk begins with the account of the desperate father of a disabled boy* in Mark 9:14-29. The boy was subject to fits, which were deemed to be caused by an unclean spirit.  The boy was unable to be healed by the Lord’s disciples.

Elder Holland describes this exhausted father’s desperation and hope that the Savior may be able to help them. Jesus, used the moment to teach that he could help, and that all things are possible to those that believe

In reading this account, I found a fascinating detail that drops out of the story by comparing the ESV to the KJV translations of this story (BLB here).

Both translations teach the quintessential truth that all things are possible to him that believes.  Yet in the ESV, it additionally teaches that it is not the Lord’s abilities that are being tested here. It is our abilities. 

So often we go to the Lord and ask if he can do something for us.  I suspect that in many cases his reply is: “I can if you can. 
This is not to suggest that we can over-ride the will of God with the desires of our heart, nor is it to suggest that we are at fault when our prayers aren’t answered the way we want.  It’s pretty evident that this is simply not the case. But to the extent that a given blessing requires faith to be realized, it is not the Lord’s faith that is the essential ingredient in this recipe.


* Whether this was in fact demonic possession, or epilepsy (more likely in my estimation), it was clear it was a refractory case that nobody had any solutions for.

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