when life gets tough

Life can be tough.

So, this struck me the other day and has become alive for me this week.

If you read Matthew 12:15 to the end, it's a very curious story.

Verse 15 says "And many followed him, and He healed them all and ordered them not to make him known."

"The word "then" connects that part to the next where it talks about a demon-possessed man whom Jesus healed (along with everyone as mentioned above).

Again, the word "then" connects verse 38 to the previous verses in chapter 12 and seems to be happening all within the same few hours. Verse 38 says, "Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”

Did you hear that? Wasn't the healing of everyone enough? Did they need more than everyone to be healed?Jesus rebukes them.

I think his point is that they wanted miracles without the relationship. They didn't want the work of knowing Jesus, really knowing him. Perhaps if they had, they would have marveled at his healing EVERYONE. Perhaps they would have supported him while he walked the earth.

After all, these Pharisees were people who gave up stuff for God. They were people who chose to be "separate" and held fast to a life of purity and doing the right thing. But doing the right thing became more about checking off boxes of good deeds than leading to a pure heart or leading to a closer walk with this man who was going around healing everyone. They kinda missed the point.

What is my point?

This week has been hard. Today, I found myself broken down for this sweet little 7-year-old nephew of mine who is struggling for his life. I have had such peace all week that Christ would heal him even though all human signs point otherwise. Am I foolish in that?

Sometimes things aren't always as they seem. Sometimes we are called to believe even when all signs point otherwise. Because at the end of the day, Christ still wins. Not only does he win and completely conquer death, which we will celebrate this week, but he also desires a relationship with us. This great conquerer of death wants a relationship with me, you, us. Isn't that incredible?

So, while I can be ugly crying on the floor begging for his Great Physician power to intervene in this little guys life, I can still say I trust Him. That I would rather be in His camp than outside. That life with him is the safest place. Yet, still contend with him that it doesn't make sense that he placed this precious child in a family that loves him, then have them spend countless dollars on surgeries to get his heart working properly only to end here, his body fully septic.

I guess the tears, the contending, the feeling I'm let down at times by God, the I-don't-understand questions mixed with anger, the feeling that he is silent sometimes, all come from a relationship. He can take it. When we read the Bible to know the author we get to experience how he loves us in a way we will never fully understand this side of heaven. Because he promised NEVER to leave us. So, when he feels silent, that he's not answering, we can trust that he is working behind the scenes in ways we can't see at the moment. That he is as close as our breath. All. The. Time.

Don't get me wrong.

That doesn't always mean the outcome is what we imagine, want, or even begged for. Our job is to trust in his goodness knowing that the results are up to him, whatever he chooses.

Let's not miss the point.

This miracle we are contending for in my nephew is only because we have chosen to know the author. When we ask for miracles outside of a relationship we reduce God to an ATM machine, shelling out miracles to make our life easier. Even though we can check all the boxes of doing the right things, we can miss Him entirely.

But, because we know him, we know that he delights in giving good things.

Don't believe me? Listen to this. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit." I corinthians 2

But, he has revealed these things to us through his Spirit. And His Spirit is telling me to believe, to trust that he is about to flex his powerful death-crushing muscles in a way that only he can. That even though all human signs point otherwise, I'm agreeing with heaven that this squishy-cheeked, curly-lipped bundle of goodness is going to have a testimony, a powerful one.

It's kinda out there. It's kinda risky.

But, I've tried life apart from Christ. And life getting to know him. With or without the miracles, Christ is precious and worth knowing and you will never be the same. Promise.

Here is a photo of me and my sweet Buddy, Abe a few weeks ago.

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