When Jesus Stops on the Road to Your Miracle

Sometimes interruptions are beautiful. Interruptions like the one in Mark 5. The crowd pressed and pushed, each one desiring to catch a glimpse of the One whose fame had spread like wildfire. The men and women jockeyed for position; if they were fortunate, they would be able to touch this Man of Miracles.

Not all touches are equal. Not all touches cause an interruption. Something was different about her touch. She had been sick for many years. She had spent every penny she had on the latest tests, treatments, and prescriptions; nothing worked. The doctors were out of ideas. There was only one hope left. She pushed past the crowd, she touched Him, and everything stopped.

Sometimes interruptions are dreadful. Interruptions like the one in Mark 5. He was out of ideas. His baby girl was sick. He couldn’t imagine life without her. Father’s aren’t supposed to bury their children! There was only one hope left. He made his way to the lakeshore. The rumor was that the Man of Miracles was coming and the crowd was swelling. Maybe he could convince Him to come and heal his daughter.

Every other day he was a leader in the synagogue. Today he was just a father with a very sick little girl. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come and heal his daughter. Jesus went with him; so did the crowd. For the first time the father felt a tinge of hope. The crowd was slowing things down but at least they were moving in the right direction. The matter was urgent, they must not delay!  But then everything stopped.

Question’s raced through Jarius’ mind. Why has He stopped? We don’t have time for interruptions! Why is He asking silly questions about who touched Him at a time like this? Has he forgot that my daughter is going to die at any moment?

Jesus lingered. Messengers delivered. Hope died.

Jesus spoke. Jarius believed. Hope stood up and walked around.

What do you do when Jesus stops on the road to your miracle?

“Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” -Jesus (Mark 5:36 NLT)

 

The Power Of The Third Response

Imagine.

You in a strange city.  After parting company with your companions you begin to make your way back to your car.  After a couple of blocks you begin to realize that you don’t recognize anything and you begin to wonder if you have lost your way.  You pull out your phone to try to pull up a map and realize that your battery is dead.  Wonderful!  You are lost in a strange city after dark with no phone and no help.  And that is when you notice that you are being followed. 

At first you try to convince yourself that it is all in your head.  You make several strange turns to see of your pursuer will follow and he remains relentless.  Your breathing quickens, your palms sweat, your heart beats in your throat.  What now?

Fight or Flight?

This is the term used to describe the bodies preparation to deal with a stressful or potentially dangerous situation.  When backed into a corner, your body prepares to fight or to run.

We often find ourselves in spiritual battles in which we feel we are left with these two options.  We can fight or we can flee.  Sometimes fighting is right.  Sometimes fleeing is right.  But when backed into a corner by the enemy of your soul or by life’s difficult circumstances, there is a third option.

Stand!

Everything in us wants to take the situation into our own hands.  We want to roll up our sleves and fight our own battles.  We want to turn tail and run.  God says, “Stand.”

2 Chronicles 20:17 “Ye shall not [need] to fight in this [battle]: set yourselves, stand ye [still], and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD [will be] with you.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

He Makes Up The Difference

When someone is saved, we say they came to Christ.  But we know that He is the one who seeks.

He makes up the difference.

When salvation results in a radical change we say, “look how far they’ve come.”  But He is the one who traveled as far as the east  is from the west.

He makes up the difference.

All throughout the Word of God we find man making a move toward God, and God making up the difference.

I could name many examples but let’s consider the instance of Peter’s imprisonment (Acts 12).  Herod had killed James and now he was keeping Peter until after Easter when he would bring him before the people.  The night before Peter was to brought out, he was heavily guarded, tightly bound, and fast asleep between two guards.

Did you catch that?  Peter’s life was going to end soon and here he is fast asleep!  How was Peter sleeping at a time like this?  He knew that God makes up the difference.

And God did. 

Sometime before daybreak, the angel of the Lord broke onto the scene, woke Peter up, and told him to put on his clothes and his shoes.  Peter didn’t say, “What about the chains?”  He knew that God makes up the difference.

“Put on your coat” was the angels next command.

Peter didn’t say, “What about the guards?  What about the bars?  What about the city gate?  He knew that God makes up the difference.  All Peter had to do was all he could and God would do the rest.

God, you have asked me to do something much bigger than I can do.  I will do everything I can.

You will make up the difference.

Please Watch Your Step

One of the first feelings that I had while hiking the Appalachian Trail was a feeling of frustration.  Seriously, it only took about fifteen minutes for me to really start to feel frustrated.  I’m thinking, “I’m on vacation!  I’m supposed to be relaxing and enjoying myself!”  But I was frustrated.

Why?

I was frustrated because I wanted to see where the trail was leading.  I wanted to look at the beautiful scenery all around me.  The problem was that every time I took my focus off of my next few steps to look around, I would step on a rock and twist my ankle or I would trip on a root that was reaching up from the ground to grab me and make me fall.

Isn’t that just the way life is sometimes?  We get so focused on what’s going on around us or we want to get our eyes on the end of the journey and we totally lose focus on the next step…and we fall.  If you are anything like me, you want to know where life is taking you; you want to know the end before you take the first step.  However, God rarely spoils a good ending by giving us all of the details.  And He often asks us to go without knowing where we are going (just like Abraham).

Sometimes generals will issue marching orders that are not to be read until the army or the individuals have reached a certain location.  These are known as closed orders.  The one receiving the orders does not know what the orders are when they set out for their mission.  They must go in faith and in courage, knowing that the one who sent them chose them for this mission because they were likely to succeed.

Nick Sisco (Missionary to Ghana, Teacher & Mentor extraordinaire) once told me that when we are called by God, He puts before us a blank contract and says, “Sign here.”  But we want to know the details of the contract, “What am I agreeing to, Lord?  Where are you sending me?  How much am I going to have to sacrifice?  How hard will it be?”  But, of course, that’s not the deal, “Just sign here.”

His word is a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path.  He may not show you the end, but rest assured if you are following Him, He will always show you the next step.

Please watch your step.

Shut-up and Trust God.

Sometimes you are sitting in church, minding your own business, when all of sudden the preacher says something that causes you to squirm inside.  Don’t you just love these moments?!  You know what I’m talking about; the Word of God has taken your shoes off and the preacher is stepping all over your toes.  You have two choices; take the message to heart or get defensive.

I had a moment like that this past Sunday.  Let me share.

My cousin, Robert McManus (great guy, great preacher) was in town and my pastor asked him to exhort for a few minutes.  I am always challenged by what he says so I was anticipating a good Word from God.  What I got was a good dose of medicine.

Robert proceeded to speak to us about Joshua and battle at Jericho.  Many of you know this story well.  If not, read it here.  We know that they marched around the city once a day for six days.  We know that they marched around the city seven times on the seventh day.  We remember Sunday School lessons about how they blew the trumpets and shouted and the walls fell down flat.  But we often miss a very important detail; Joshua commanded that the people be silent until he commanded them to shout.

No talking?  Not even a peep.  Why?  Maybe it was because every other time Israel was faced with an impossible situation (and this was an impossible situation) they began to complain and gossip.  Israel didn’t tend to look at problems and say, “Oh cool, let’s see how God will work this out!”  No, they reacted more like, “What are you doing to us God?!  Why didn’t you just leave us in Egypt?”

This nailed me between the eyes.  Confession time.  I have been facing some situations that feel like  Jericho walls recently.  And guess what, I’ve been complaining.  I’ve been airing my frustrations instead of trusting God.  I have always wondered how Israel could rejoice in a miracle one day and complain at a problem a few days later.  God revealed to me that I have been doing the same thing.  My choice?  I’m going to take it to heart.

From now on, when I am faced with a Jericho wall, I am going to do my best to Shut-up and Trust God.

What about you?  Do you have any Jericho walls that need a good silent treatment?