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If Only - Even Now

If Only - Even Now

09 August 2010

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 4-5; John 11

Scripture:

21 Martha said, “Master, if (only) you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.” (John 11:21-22 MSG)

Martha often gets a bad rap because on another occasion she complained about her sister Mary not helping her get dinner ready. Let’s give Martha a break, ok? Martha’s brother (Mary’s brother too) had died four days earlier and Jesus wasn’t there to help. They both were confident that if only Jesus had been there, Lazarus, the one Jesus loved so much, would still be alive. When Jesus finally arrived, Martha went to meet him while Mary stayed in the house with the mourners.

Martha and Mary both had “if only” faith in Jesus. “If only you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” But Martha also had “even now” faith. “Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”

Sometimes things don’t turn out well. Prayers go unanswered, situations worsen, the opportunity is missed, the plan fails, the loved one dies. The good thing I hoped for didn’t happen or the bad thing I dreaded did happen! I find myself wrestling with “if only” thoughts. “If only I had (or hadn’t), if only God would…” But God didn’t and it all went wrong and it seems like it’s too late.

There is another kind of faith for serious Christ-followers. It’s “Even Now” faith. “Even now – even though things haven’t worked out, even though the answer didn’t come when and how I had hoped, even though there seems to be nothing that can be done – Even now, I know you can bring life and hope and help. Even now!”

A further step in our faith journey, almost always prompted by disappointment, pain, or loss, is moving from “If Only” to “Even Now.” Let’s be gracious, gentle, and compassionate to those among us who are making this challenging step of faith!

Prayer:

Father, I need a lot of help with this one. I need to move from being an “If Only” kind of person to being an “Even Now” believer. Please be gentle with me. Please don’t give up on me. And please help me to be sensitive and aware of those around me who are in life experiences that require this difficult and often-painful forward and upward faith-step. Amen.

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