Thursday, 9 April 2015

How to know if God hears your prayers


{NOTE FROM WENDY: I'm going on holiday next week so I'm going to break from this blog too. The next new post will be up on 20 April.}

While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”
Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.” Mark 5:35 (MSG)

I've often wished that I never heard the words, “Your husband has cancer.”

They are hope-sucking words.

Those four words were the ones we heard a few months after marriage.

And these are the words God has spoken into my heart time-and-again since then.
“Just trust me.”

I don’t think anyone likes hearing that phrase either. But sometimes, “Just trust me” is what I hear Jesus telling me.

When I’m worried about what is going to happen next, when I’m stressed out over what the doctors results will say, or just down because I can’t see my dreams ever being reality that’s when I hear it, quiet, firm, “Just trust me.”

They are the same words that Jesus spoke to Jairus in Mark 5:35:
While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”
Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

I can’t imagine how I would feel if I had just been told that my daughter had died. I’m pretty sure that I would have felt like the words, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me,” wouldn’t fix anything.

I would have wondered if Jesus really understood my pain.

And at the same time I would have known that Jesus was my only hope.

One thing I’ve learnt in the almost four years since Xylon’s cancer diagnosis is that when the rest of the world is saying there’s no hope, Jesus is standing there saying, “They’re wrong.”

When everyone else is questioning if Jesus really cares about the hard things we’re going through, I listen for his voice declaring, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

Perhaps what I love most about this short encounter between Jairus and Jesus is that there is mystery. Jesus doesn’t tell Jairus that his daughter is in fact dead, or that he’ll have to raise her back to life.

Jesus invites Jairus to trust him in the mystery.

And Jairus does, and as he does, he finds hope. He does not know that Jesus will make everything better, unlike us he hasn’t read the end of the story, he can’t foretell that Jesus will bring his daughter back from the dead.

Jairus only has Jesus’ words to hope in.

When everyone else was saying, “You have no hope!” Jesus was saying, “I am your hope!” (tweet this)

Sometimes that’s all I have too. 

Jesus’ words calling to me, as I hold my husbands’ hand in the oncology waiting room,
“Just trust me.”

As I listen I find hope rising in unexpected places.

Ponder: What in your life sucks your hope right now? How does the story of Jairus help hope to rise in you?

Prayer: Lord, help me to hear you saying, "I am your hope" over all the other voices. 

This post originally appeared as a guest post on ChrisMorrisWrites.com in September 2013.


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Monday, 6 April 2015

For those who feel like the broken things will never be made new


And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 (ESV)

One of the things I love about Easter is the reminder that God makes all things new. 

All things. 

All.

Easter makes me believe that God can take all the broken things and make them whole again.

All things. 

All.

I don’t know about you, but I often don’t see God’s redemption in all things because I’m looking at the broken things, thinking how they can’t be fixed.

As Easter comes to an end I’m reflecting on the thin places in my past where God has come and exclaimed, 
“Look, I am making all things new.”

All things. 

All.

Some thin places I'm reflecting on:

The little cactus that blooms red buds out of hard, dry soil, and reminds me that God can make something out of pain

And there is my nephew being born in the same hospital where my mother nearly breathed her last. A symbol that God redeems heartbreak

My husband lying in hospital waiting for his bone marrow transplant and God bringing the story of Joseph to mind so I don't forget that God can mend broken dreams.

So today, as I think about all that Jesus did for us on Calvary, I’m praying God will open my eyes to how he is making all things new. 

All things. 

All.

And I’m looking for the invitation from God that whispers:

Ponder: Ask God to reveal one moment in the past week that he has brought life where there was death. (I’d love for you to share what God shows you in the comments.)

Prayer: God, open my eyes to you bringing new life to all things. (tweet this)

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

One simple thing to focus on this Easter

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8 (MSG)


While I was writing it I was struck how the story of God finding Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the Easter story. 

It’s the Gospel. 

God coming to them. 

God seeking Adam and Eve out after they’d messed up. God looking for Adam and Eve right after they’d just done exactly what God had told them not to.

Jesus coming to me. 

Jesus calling me to him while we are trying desperately to hide from him. 

Jesus beckoning us to fall in step with him while we try madly to tell him why we will never be good enough for him to call us friend. 

And Jesus looking at us as we hang on a cross with all our sins written out on plaque above our heads and saying, “Friend, today you will be with me in paradise.”

That is the miracle of Eden, the miracle of Easter: that God came to us when we had nothing to offer. (tweet this)

The Message puts it this way in Romans 5:6-8: 
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready…God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Jesus did it all. 

Jesus didn’t even leave the finding up to us. 

God sought us out and then offered us life, life, and more life

Ponder: What is the most poignant thing about the Easter story for you?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for coming to find me. Thank you for the life you gave and the freedom from sin you bought me on Calvary. Amen.

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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Unsplash.com Design: Wendy van Eyck