This is a photograph of a burned out forest area in Glacier National Park that has been recovering for a few years. Out of the ashes, beautiful wildflowers grow. Some flowers and birds live only in these recovering woods.
When we hiked through this region, the sunshine on the charcoaled tree trunks glowed silver. The stark beauty took our breath away. What a miracle God has worked in the midst of devastation.
For me there has been an internal joy in spite of the destruction in my body. But now, I am hopeful for even more than that. I am hopeful of healing and renewal in the way the forest is being renewed.
I felt like this scripture below was directed to me from God today.
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who
— Mark 9:23
A desperate father comes to Jesus with a request for help IF
there is anything he can do to help. IF! IF? Everything is possible
if we believe. Does it mean it will happen? Not necessarily, but we
know it CAN happen if God chooses to do it to glorify himself,
protect his people, or accomplish his will. Our commitment needs to
be that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who basically told King
Nebuchadnezzar, “We serve a God who is able to deliver us, but even
if he does not, we will not worship other gods who are false!” (See
Now to God, who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more
than we can ask or imagine, be glory … forever and ever. In the
glorious name of Jesus I praise you. Amen. (cf. Ephesians 3:20-21)
There are a number of times in the Bible when people approach Jesus for help with their small faith: this father in the scripture above, Moses when instructed to speak to Pharoah, the disciples when told to forgive over and over again.
I directed a question about positive and negative expectations to my friend, Kathy Burdick, who is going through chemo for cancer right now. Here is her answer:
Oh my gosh, Kath, I have so thought about the expectation thing. I’ve bounced back and forth between accepting the number of days in my life according to His time (Psalm 139:16) and understanding that He has taken not only our sins but our diseases and infirmities on the cross. So what exactly is it that we can expect?
I think I can expect that the number of days assigned to me are a perfect number.
I can expect that He has works for me to do during this time on earth. Eph. 2:10
I can expect that it is His desire that those works be completed in the assigned number of days.
I can expect He is not going to change His mind on that. Rom. 11:29
“I think I can pray that nothing will hinder the assigned task of the Most High and that they will be brought to completion through me in the days assigned. I can pray that all the cells of my body will hear His voice and come into agreement with Him and yield to His direction. I can ‘chase the boogies’ out of my heart and my home so peace pervades and I can hear the directions for each day. I realized that when I don’t clean house, my thoughts are not where they should be and I may miss the purpose for that day. I realize that I feel that when I start demanding healing without feeling that is how God wants me to pray, I am mandating how He is to accomplish the assigned days, etc. Am I way off? I’d rather pray on the things I know and let me decide how to work all that out. Less pressure.
Sometimes I feel like I’m nagging God. I know He hears me the first time. Am I spending as much time listening for daily instructions as I am pointing out my own needs? I’m reading this book by Casey Treat where he mentions “stupid prayers” vs. spiritual prayers. I had to laugh. He talks about people saying things like, “Come, Lord Jesus. Send your Holy Spirit.” His question is when did Jesus leave? When did the holy spirit go back to heaven? The word says He will never leave you nor forsake you. So what is my real need? I need to hear Him, be aware of Him, be quiet and still, allow Him to be all that He desires to be in and through me. I just need to get myself out of the way. I already have strength, I already have power, I already have hope, I already have peace, etc. because He said He’s given this to me through His spirit that is resident in me. I think my problem is knowing how to use what has already been given me as opposed to asking for more. Guess I need to take a serious inventory of what I already have. Really.”
Great answer! I think the difference that Kathy B. is talking about is where your focus is. If you set your eyes on God, you can be doing what he has for you here on earth and also be prepared to die at the same time. One can fully believe God can do a miracle. One can expect a miracle. At the same time that same person can be ready to go home and even have a deep joy at the prospect. As Paul said, “ For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.”