Meditating on the Commands of Christ (74): Go Believing and Receive

Here’s one amazing promise Jesus made to someone that I wish we could all claim today during this COVID pandemic: “And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:13).

Of course, the mighty military leader didn’t demand that Jesus heal his beloved servant, he humbly “beseeched” (earnestly begged) Jesus. In fact, it doesn’t actually say that the centurion even asked Jesus to heal his servant! He only got so far as to explain his predicament—that his servant was suffering terribly, and Jesus intervened, offering to come and heal him. The centurion, however, was so respectful of Jesus’s time that he quickly asked simply for Jesus to “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8).

This seems like the perfect example for us as we pray for our loved ones. I think our natural tendency is to ask for a miraculous healing on the spot, or an end to COVID world-wide (which I definitely find myself doing), but perhaps the better way is simply to bring the situation to Jesus. What do we want? Relief for our loved ones (and frankly, for those who are suffering everywhere). Like all our burdens, Jesus wants us to bring them to him and let him deal with them as He sees fit. Do we have enough faith in Jesus and in his wisdom to simply bring our troubles to him without demanding a particular solution?

Of course, Jesus went above and beyond what the centurion was hoping for in providing relief, but Jesus did give the centurion this imperative: “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee” (Matthew 8:13). If we are to follow the centurion’s example, this puts significant pressure on us! Our job is to “carry on and keep believing.”

What does this look like? I think it incorporates a lot of the “Carry On and Keep . . .” ideas—keep calm for sure, but perhaps even more. As we are carrying on, I think Jesus also wants us to be strong in our faith and never give up hope!

To be patient and prayerful.

To be happy because we believe that God is good and will work everthing out in the end for good—not only in our lives, but also in the lives of all who love him.

Finally, Jesus came so that we could live an abundant life even in the midst of suffering . . . casting all our cares on him, knowing that he will take care of us (1 Peter 5:7). This may be relatively hard or easy for each of us, depending on the depth of our sufferings and the strength of our faith, but this is what God wants for each of us, and He is worthy of our trust!

Text for this meditation: “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:5-13).

And, for those who are ill . . .

Ode to COVID Confinement

I cannot walk wherever I want, but I can walk.
I cannot talk with whomever I wish, but I can talk.
I cannot see whoever I want, but I can see.
I cannot do whatever I want, but I can be.
I cannot eat whatever I want, but I can eat.
I am confined in many ways, but life’s still sweet.

I cannot hug, but I can love.
I can’t do all I’m dreaming of.
I cannot touch, but I can keep.
I cannot guard, but I can sleep.
I cannot save, but I can pray.
Thank you, Father, for this day!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

(No, we’re not on vacation with our two youngest sons in Ireland this morning; I’m sheltering in place at home. But, I am very grateful to be alive and more or less well after significantly recovering from the flu or a light case of COVID-19)!

Good Friday: Practicing the Resurrection Principle

Are you anxious about some challenge in your life? Good Friday is the perfect time to remember the Resurrection Principle, which a friend shared with me from Reader’s Digest. By the way, do you ever read Reader’s Digest? My parents subscribed when I was a child, but I didn’t even know it was still in existence until I looked it up today on Wikipedia and read that it’s the largest paid circulation magazine in the world. So, maybe you’ve read all about the Resurrection Principle already, but if not, let me pass along what my friend suggested: “Prayerfully wait three days before becoming anxious about any problem, because most of the time, the problem will be resolved.”

At first I thought, “What? Usually only the most insignificant issues are resolved in three days unless it’s good news about a test or something.” As I considered the challenges in my life that tend to make me anxious, I felt like almost all of them are long-term, on-going difficulties which are out of my control and often take years to resolve. However, it occurred to me that Christ rose again after three days, and that’s the most significant resolution of any problem in the world!

So, like leprous Naaman in 2 Kings 5, I decided to try the Resurrection Principle and see what happened. I found that prayerfully waiting three days rarely brought a clear resolution that chased the clouds away and left me with no further need for faith or dependence on the Lord. However, as I practiced praying earnestly for three days before freaking out, I discovered that most problems were resolved in this way: I learned to lay them down at the feet of Jesus and find peace. It is completely worthwhile to follow 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Does God love us? Yes. Does God have the power to help us? Yes. Will God answer our prayers in a way that makes us more like Christ and brings glory to Himself? Yes. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).If you’re struggling with anxiety this Good Friday, why not start practicing the Resurrection Principle? Develop the habit of praying earnestly for three days before you allow yourself to give in to anxious thoughts. Hopefully, this will keep you from jumping on the anxiety roller coaster at all, and perhaps you, like me, will more often be able to find a sense of serenity and rest even in the midst of life’s battles, knowing that God loves us, hears us, and will answer our prayers! Let’s allow the resurrection power and ministry of Christ to flood our souls with light in the darkness, transforming us from anxious souls into spiritual beings.

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:25).

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

(Thanks to Bob Hardee for the two photos with scripture verses imprinted on them!)