One More Miracle

People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed. (Matthew 14:35, 36)

What do you think, does God heal people today? When it comes to miracles, people’s views run the gamut. Some believe “signs and wonders” served a special purpose for a specific time—to validate Jesus as the long-promised Messiah—and are now a magnificent memory of a long-ago age. Others demand Divine deliverance from the seemingly smallest of sniffles. Still others pshaw any notion outside of the natural. Then we all settle into our comfy positions until . . .

Reality strikes suddenly sometimes, doesn’t it? While we view life academically at times, real life is fragile and raw. And when our health falters, we run to God—vulnerable and pleading, praying for His sovereignty to overcome our circumstance. Many who have long-denied God suddenly cry out to Him for help, and those who relegated miracles to a bygone era desperately seek one now!

Personally, I have seen both sides of healing. As a young boy, I prayed for my father to survive a heart attack, only to lose him that sad Summer morning. Yet 20-plus years later, I listened amazed as my brother shared a miracle in his own life, a truly remarkable story from a highly credible man. [Click here to read Eric’s story.] In one case, God healed; in the other, He did not.

healingReflecting back, I now realize God was in control in both instances; nothing happened outside of His power and love. For the Bible tells us there awaits everyone—even those who experience a miracle on this side of eternity—a certain but unknowable day when we breathe our last. This is the natural order of things.

But ours is a supernatural God, and as Christ has been raised to life, so, too, will those in whom He lives by faith. For there awaits us a new heavenly body, “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). Yes, even when it looks as though sickness and death have had the final say, God has one more everlasting miracle for us—His life will overcome our death. Count on it.

God, grace me to trust your goodness more than my understanding, to rejoice in your faithfulness despite my faithlessness, and to rest in your sovereignty over my circumstances. Keep me safe in Christ, forever. Amen.


The Greater Hunger

“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:32)

They were still there! Think about it— the crowd had been with Jesus for three days, eaten through their entire food supply, now edging toward collapse, and they were still there. What draw could possibly be so compelling? What craving of the spirit could outweigh any hunger of the stomach?

Physical hunger is a powerful force; we reach a point where we would do virtually anything to assuage it. Yet there abides in humankind another kind of need, a yearning of the soul that gnaws at us; life is empty until this need is fed, until this thirst is slaked.

compassionWhat was it about Jesus that satisfied the crowds? Of course, they feasted on His miracles, His display of compassion with power: the lame walked, the blind saw, and the mute spoke. Surely they tasted of His wisdom and truth, the “soul food” of their innermost longing. He was to them the savory blend of understanding, power and care, feeding the body, soul and spirit—the whole meal “bread of life” nourishing the entire person.

So He sends us likewise to serve people all around us every day. We stop neither at the stomach nor the soul, for God cares about every aspect of every person.

God, all around me are people who hunger, some in their stomachs, some in their souls. Open my eyes to see, and my heart to care. Open my hands to serve, and my mouth to speak. Today. Amen.

[Read today’s Scripture in Matthew 15:29-32.]


Hospitality To Go

Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)

From time to time, I marvel at friends of ours, a couple who are particularly good at hospitality. They have a special knack for putting their guests at ease and drawing them into an atmosphere of acceptance, peace, and inclusion.

aloneWe typically think of hospitality as hosting others in our own space, such as in our home, our office, or even a hospitality suite. And rightfully so, for opening to others our place of peace is a gift thoughtfully offered and refreshingly received. Yet the longing to be welcome, warm, and wanted follows people wherever they go, and, unfortunately, public places where we know no one can be the loneliest locations on earth. I know it’s not just me, because I see isolation on faces wherever I go—in the bakery-cafe, in the grocery store, or at the gym. It can be especially pronounced in church, where people seek hope, only to come and go, untouched.

So I’ve decided to respond to “alone in a crowd” when I see it. Often it takes no more than a genuine, purposeful smile that says, “You matter.” Sometimes, it is a helping hand that elicits the silent shout, “Someone cares about me!” And we may never know the impact of stepping away from the comfort of our group and into the life of an uncomfortable stranger.

Hospitality can be served up at home, or we can make it to go. For people savor “You are welcome here” wherever it is found. May they find it in us.

Lord, today help me see people in need of a touch of hospitality, and grace me to know how best to extend it. Amen.

[Read today’s Scripture in Romans 12:9-16.]