Monday, January 30, 2012
It Was Like Magic!
Miracles! Miracles everywhere! It was like magic. Early in his ministry, Jesus healed the mother-in-law of his new disciple Peter. She was burning up with a fever, on the verge of death and he took her hand and raised her up in the privacy of Peter's home, away from the public eye. This would indicate Jesus intervened not solely to establish who he was, but also out of deepest concern--concern that would bond him to this special group--Peter and his wife, his mother-in-law, his brother Andrew and James and John who were also there.
Such a heartwarming, caring gesture made it easier for this new circle of friends to support the extraordinary mission that would consume so much of their lives over the next three and a half years and beyond. It was a glimpse of his goodness. But for the two ladies, it was more. It represented recognition of their value as women; a show of attention that made them feel special and gentleness they were unaccustomed to receiving from religious teachers and leaders.
And the miracles they were destined to witness on a daily basis began anew that evening when hoards of people in desperate need of healing and deliverance lined the streets and alleys leading to the door of their home. They were all clamoring for Jesus. News about him had already spread quickly over the entire region. Not only were these pitiful, infirmed and diseased individuals bound by their handicapped existence, they were also bound by a legalistic application of the Jewish code of law. They had been taught they could not ask for or receive help until after the sun set on their sabbath days. They were mistaken. Jesus would have healed them any time of day or night. He had already healed Peter's mother-in-law just that afternoon. The Lord was not unreasonable.
For many years, I too was mistaken. I thought my supplications to God were valid only if I offered them at the "right" time of day, just as the needy crowd at Peter's door. But it didn't stop there, I also felt I had to pray in the "right" position, say the "right" words, in the "right" tone of voice and spend the "right" amount of time doing it. Otherwise, it would not work. I allowed my entire day to be ruined and expected things to go wrong if I failed to pray the "right" way. How silly, you might say. Yes, indeed it was. But I needlessly labored under that misconception for a very long time. Now I see how such a picky and complicated approach makes God appear unreasonable, harsh and unrealistic.
Jesus spent hours that night wandering through the massive crowd, empathetically laying his hands on the afflicted, the outcasts and misfits--many of whom were extremely unstable mentally. But it was not necessary for them to have waited until sunset to cry out for help, just as it wasn't necessary for me to pray at what I thought was the "right" time and way. Jesus is neither unreasonable nor unrealistic. He knows we are only human. His mercy is unending. His love unconditional. We may come boldly before his throne of grace at any time, whether it be in early morning, with elegant, poetic phrases or late night with nothing but groaning and tears. It doesn't matter. He understands.
Read the story of all these miracles as told by Peter's wife. Click onto What A Day This Has Been! under Recent Posts.