“There are seasons of life that require you to lean into the faith, hope and love of others who love God and love you.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 31, 2022
The power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:17-19
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. At first, I felt alone. I felt afraid. I felt angry. But God, really never left me—I just forgot in my crisis of faith how truly loved I was by the Lord. And not only by my Creator, the One who intricately and marvelously made me in my mother’s womb—but oh, how I began to experience the faith, hope and love from Jesus’ lovers! My wife Rita’s care carried me to Jesus in a tangible way that ignited my trust in my Savior and Lord. Friends checked on me and sat with me just to listen. Gratitude and serenity grew in my soul for those who paid for the medical procedure (not covered by insurance). In times of pain it is imperative that we receive faith, hope and love from others to carry us to Christ!
You may remember this remarkable story. After being refreshed from a time away in prayer, Jesus is invited to teach at a home in town. Word of the rabbi’s presence spread like wild fire, as inside and outside the house eager listeners clamored to hear more from the man who taught with humility, clarity and authority. Included in the crowd were skeptical religious leaders and teachers who labeled Him a heretic. Jesus did not fit into the box of their rigid religion. But many others looked to Him for hope. I can imagine four friends each gripping the corner of the paralyzed man’s mat. Like Red Cross stretcher bearers in World War II, with persistence and ingenuity, the faith of the four men hoisted the lame man to the roof and lowered him before Jesus. Because of their faith, the Lord first healed the man’s heart and then his body!
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd” (Hebrews 11:1-2, MSG).
Life has a way of extinguishing our faith. Slowly over time the vibrant light of what we once held as beliefs, dims under the darkness of doubt, or the winds of adversity completely blow out our beliefs. Once hopeful, anticipating what Almighty God has in store for His children can be relegated to a trite Sunday School story, not unlike an Aesop’s fable. Hope in God is dismissed as fantasy, instead of fact. Love is what attracted us to Jesus, but now dismayed, we ask how a loving Lord can allow pain and sorrow. Yet, faith, hope and love are God’s gifts for life and death.
There are seasons of life that require you to lean into the faith, hope and love of others who love God and love you. You were not created to suffer difficult circumstances alone, but with Christ and His followers. When your emotional energy is sapped, like an electric vehicle, you need a charging station of faith, hope and love. Spiritual guides carry you to Jesus by reminding you of His track record of faithfulness, and that you can trust Him. Who carries you to Jesus with hope, so you can anticipate His blessings? Who carries you to Jesus in love, so you can experience His peace, forgiveness and healing? Being carried is necessary when life is not fair!
“For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13, The Voice).
Heavenly Father, give me the humility to allow others to carry me to You during difficult days, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Regarding faith, hope and love—which virtue do I need most from others when experiencing a season of suffering? Why?
Brandon Heath: Faith, Hope, Love Repeat
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