When is the last time that you needed something immediately? Did the Lord supply your need as quickly as you'd hoped, or did you have to wait?
As I've read through Mark the past two weeks, I've been struck by the pattern of how often the word "immediately" is used:
1:10 "And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove."
1:12 "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness."
1:18 "And immediately they left their nets and followed him."
1:20 "And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him."
1:21 "And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.
1:23 "And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit."
1:29 "And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
1:30 "Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her."
1:42 "And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean."
2:8 "And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, 'Why do you question these things in your hearts?'"
2:12 "And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, sot hat they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'"
3:6 "The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him."
4:5 "Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil."
4:15 "And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them."
4:16 "And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy."
4:17 "And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away."
5:2 "And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit."
5:29 "And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her
5:30 "And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my garments?'"
5:42 "And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement."
6:25 "And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, 'I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.'"
6:27 "And immediately the king sent an executioner with order to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison."
6:45 "Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd."
6:50 "for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.'"
6:54 "And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him"
7:25 "But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet."
8:10 "And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha."
9:15 "And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him."
9:20 "And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth."
9:24 "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
10:52 "And Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your faith has made you well.' And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way."
11:2 "and said to them, 'Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it."
11:3 "If anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'"
14:43 "And immediately while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders."
14:72 "And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.' And he broke down and wept."
Thirty-five times the Book of Mark uses the word "immediately." Sometimes it's the person's response that is immediate, and sometimes it's Jesus's response that is immediate.
Throughout this year, I've prayed for several things to happen immediately--both for me and for friends. And most of the time, the Lord has not given the answer immediately or performed the action I requested immediately. But at the same time, I can't say that my obedience has always been immediate or that I've always prayed immediately when a situation concerns me.
But despite my wavering, these passages from Mark serve as reminders that we serve an unchanging God, One Who still has the power to change a situation immediately.