Tag Archives: patience

Immediate (Mark 8)

I find it interesting, and personal, that it took Jesus two tries to heal the blind man in Mark 8. Or did it?

Some people had brought the man to Jesus for healing, and Jesus took him by the hand and led him to a private spot. This was not going to be a public display of God’s power. This was personal.

Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and laid hands on him. But the man was only partially healed. He confessed he saw, but not clearly. Jesus touched him again, and he was healed.

Now I know Jesus could have absolutely healed him immediately – with a word. (He’d healed people immediately many times before.) So why was this healing a two-parter?

I think it’s something to consider in our day of instant gratification, impatience, entitlement, and self-absorption. We pray and, knowing Jesus is able to answer, we expect immediate results. We don’t want to wait, and we certainly don’t want our request answered in stages.

Then, what if the end result isn’t exactly what we’d prayed? What happens to our faith? What if, when the man in Mark 8 realized his sight wasn’t fully restored the first time, he left in a huff, if his faith was only as good as the immediate? He would have missed the complete healing.

I think of a fellow-blogger who was diagnosed with ALS 24 years ago, is confined to a wheel chair with a mind that is sharp, and a body that will not move. I didn’t know him back then. But I imagine he and those around him prayed for healing. I imagine those prayers are still being brought to God. Those prayers were met in other ways, besides a physical healing. If you want to know more about his journey, check out Unshakable Hope.

Our Good News club is looking at the life of Joni Eareckson Tada. She’s another example of a believer whose physical body was not healed, although there were a lot of prayers to that end. The answers to those prayers came in stages, and the end result looked much different than those praying imagined. But both of these people have ministries today they would not have had if they had been healed of their physical challenges.

As I think about these people, the man in Mark 8, others I’ve prayed for without seeing the results I wanted, I have to ask myself if I really trust God even when my requests aren’t fulfilled in my timing or in the exact way I’ve prayed?

I find it’s not about the outcome of my prayers, but the faith I have along the way. of course I believe God can do anything. He could remove Covid from the world right this minute. That’s not what God wants me to see today, though. God wants me to see Him, to trust Him, to have a faith that is not shattered if answers to my prayers aren’t immediate.

If God answers my prayers in stages, I pray that I will have the patience to see Him working in my life and in the lives of others in the situation with me while we wait. I pray that if the outcome isn’t what I demanded, I will trust Him enough to know and do what’s best for eternity.

I think God is reminding me today to pray, to trust, to have faith that He does all things well, and to rejoice in every step of the way.

I Samuel 21-23; Why Wait?

Are you like me and, no matter which line you get in at the grocery, it seems the person in front of you will most likely need a price-check? All the other cashiers are moving their customers along while you stand there and wait. Again.

Don’t you always look forward to catching up with year-old People magazines while you wait an hour past your appointment time in the doctor’s office? Come on. You know you love it.

Most of us, if not all of us, don’t wait well, do we? Sometimes standing in front of the microwave for 90 seconds seems too long to wait. But there certainly seems to be a lot of waiting in the Bible. What is God trying to tell us?

David was anointed King of Israel way back in chapter 16. Yet here in the chapters we read today, Saul is still Israel’s acting king. And to make matters worse, Saul is following David all over the countryside, trying to kill him. I’d rather have the People magazines.

If God wanted David to be king, why was all of this happening? Why is David still on the run instead of sitting on the throne that was his?

I think about the years David spent hiding out from Saul, living in caves, running for his life. And I thank God that, during that difficult time, David penned some of the most heart-felt psalms that speak to hearts yet today. I can read these chapters in God’s Word and see the shepherd boy grow in wisdom and faith to become a very great king.

David wasn’t anointed king, then sat back and waited in the comforts of home until the kingdom was his. There was pain and suffering and loss in the waiting. But David was the king he was – not in spite of – but because of those waiting years.

Are you getting impatient waiting for God’s timing in some matter? I would encourage you to not resent the waiting. God is most likely trying to teach you some things, trying to grow you into the person He wants you to be as you serve Him in this lifetime.

Don’t just put your feet up while you wait. Feast on your daily bread, and pick up your sword. There are things to do, places to go, people to see.

Remember God’s timing is perfect. And He does all things well.

Hey! Don’t Take My Coat!

I had a slow drain in the tub of a mobile home I lived in for a while.  No matter what I tried, it would clog up regularly. So I started a new routine. Every Saturday morning I’d pour baking soda into that drain, then dump a cup of vinegar on it and watch it go to work. It fizzed, and popped, and bubbled while the chemicals reacted to one another. Then, I would pour some boiling water into the drain and listen for it to flow freely.

Solomon tells us, in Proverbs 25:20 that singing a happy song to someone who is sad is like pouring vinegar over baking soda. The reaction is anything but soothing. Telling someone to “cheer up” or to “get over it” doesn’t help a person who is mourning or depressed. In fact, it can cause more grief. It would be like doing your happy dance at a funeral.

Sometimes people need to be sad. And if I am overtly expressing my happiness without considering their feelings, I’m just being mean. Solomon says it’s like taking the coat away from someone standing in the middle of a snowstorm.

As a middle school counselor I learned that sometimes I needed to allow the person sitting in front of me to feel the feelings. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. I had to admit that I didn’t have all the answers, that any tidbit of advice I might throw out there could make matters worse. I learned to ask, even of eleven-year-olds, what it is they thought they needed. Did they want to talk about it? Or did they just want to sit next to me and cry? There would, undoubtedly, come a time when I would direct that person to finding solutions. But sometimes that didn’t happen for quite some time. They needed to feel the feelings first.

Life is hard. Everyone goes through difficult times. Grief is personal. Depression can be a disease. You wouldn’t tell someone to just “get over” cancer, would you?

God is telling me today to choose my words, my attitude toward the people in my life who are facing hardships. Sometimes well intended words are just mean, like exposing someone to freezing weather, or pouring vinegar over baking soda. I want to be sensitive to what it is they are going through at the moment, set myself aside, and allow them to grieve, or rant, or question.

Lord, forgive me when I’m so taken with good things in my life that I walk over someone who is hurting. I don’t do it intentionally. I don’t want to make anyone feel worse than they already feel. Help me to notice the hurt in someone’s eyes or in the sound of their voice. Give me the words to say that will soothe and encourage. Or help me to keep my mouth shut and just be present. More than anything, Lord, I pray that they will be drawn to you as a result of my caring about their feelings.

Elijah Makes Me Smile

I love Elijah. (I Kings 17&18) First, it was ok with him when God told him ravens would supply his food for a while. Ravens are scavengers. Yuck! But because God said it, Elijah looked forward to his next meal. (the ravens brought him bread and meat, and I believe they came straight from heaven’s kitchen)

When Ahab meets Elijah on the street, the king accused the prophet of being Israel’s trouble-maker. Elijah didn’t get angry, or pout. He simply replied: HA! You are!

Gotta love his spunk.

Elijah took care of a widow and her son, and God supplied enough flour and oil for them to live on during the famine. Elijah even prayed for God to revive the dead boy. I love how Elijah was quick to see a need and go to God about it.

Every time I read the account about the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, I get a tickle. I mean, the prophets were making fools of themselves and old Elijah just encouraged them to make bigger fools of themselves, to show everybody that there is one God. And Baal wasn’t it.

But here’s what spoke to me this morning. The land was suffering from that long drought. People were desperate. And God pretty much left it up to Elijah as to when the drought would end. So Elijah went up into the mountain to pray for rain. After he says, “Amen”, he tells his servant to run up to the top of the mountain and check the skies. The servant returns to report the skies are clear. So Elijah gets back on his knees and prays again, then sends the servant back to look for storm clouds. Nothing. Elijah continued to pray and look for the answer to his prayer seven times.

After the seventh time Elijah prayed for rain, the servant came back and, probably a little timidly reported that he might have seen a teeny tiny little white cloud on the horizon. And this is what I love:

Elijah jumped up and said: Yes! Get the umbrellas!

Made me stop and think about how often I might have missed recognizing an answer to prayer because it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. I think Elijah was imagining dark, rolling clouds, thunder and lightning as an answer to his prayer. But Elijah recognized that that little white cloud was, indeed, God’s answer.

Elijah’s story also challenges me about my faith. He was so sure God was going to answer his prayer immediately, he sent his servant to go look for the evidence as soon as he was done praying. Then, when the answer wasn’t immediate, Elijah didn’t give up. He dropped to his knees in prayer, and looked expectantly for the answer, again and again. His faith didn’t waver. In fact, the waiting may have prepared him to recognize God’s answer in the form of a little white cloud in the distance.

Father, I thank you for answered prayer. I believe you hear and answer every request that is asked by your children. Forgive us if we miss your answers because we are looking for something else. Help us to bow before your Sovereignty and trust you to answer our prayers according to what you know is best. And may we recognize your hand at work in our lives for our good and your glory.

What to Wear?

As I read in Colossians today, Paul reminded me that as a Christian, everything I do I do as a representative of God. If I’m shopping, if I’m shoveling snow, if I attend the office Christmas party, speak to my neighbor, get my hair done, drive my car I represent my Savior.

The Apostle challenges me to take care as I get ready for the day. I may stand at my closet and pick out which shirt to wear, but I also need to clothe myself with, “tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, …and above all love.” (3:12-15) I need to make allowances for other’s faults and forgive as God forgave me (as guilty and underserving as I was). Paul also tells me to live in peace and be thankful.

Getting ready in the morning is an act of will. I shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, and carefully choose clothes that match, and that hide those extra pounds I’m carrying. Reading Colossians today I am challenged to be as intentional about what else I put on, knowing I want to make a good impression.

After all, I represent my precious Jesus.

I am going to memorize Paul’s list of “What to Wear” and make it a matter of prayer each morning. I want to choose to be the woman God will be proud to have represent him as I allow him to clothe me, as I allow him to be seen in me.

Dear God, I ask that you will clothe me today with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. May I make allowances for other’s faults and forgive as God forgave me, because we both know you have forgiven me a boatload of sin. I want to live in peace and show you how thankful I am for your many blessings. As I represent you today, may I do it wearing all these things. And may Jesus be seen in me.