We are studying the Gospels, more specifically the life of Jesus – chronologically – from start to finish. I’m also taking Theology 1 this trimester in our “School” at Hope Chapel. Seeking more knowledge, to learn more about God is always a good thing. The Pastor who teaches the Theology 1 course is the head of our “Hope Chapel Ministries Institute” and he’s also the head of the home school academy. He has a very precocious 6 year old who’s been through two major bouts with Leukemia. We, as a church, prayed for years for that young boy. Pastor Kevin, his wife and his young son (who first was diagnosed with Leukemia before he was 2 years old) have been carried on the prayers of this church for over 4 years now. Just 4 months ago – their son Hayden was declared “Cancer free.” It’s really quite amazing to see the way the body works together sometimes, and how lives are impacted and changed by prayer.
Of course, their practical needs have been met as well. They had to have an apartment in Westwood close to Children’s Hospital, and many members of the church simply gave them money or restaurant gift cards, all kinds of things, anything to bless them and to help get them through. I’ve not met Hayden yet, but I’ve heard so many stories about him now, that I literally get goose-pimples thinking about meeting him. He’s just an ordinary kid, and I’m sure he has no idea of the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of prayers that have been said for him and his family!
That’s not at all what I started out to write, that just came out somehow. =)
I started out to tell you about what we learned last week about the woman at the well (John 4). Jesus met her where she was at. He confronted her with her sin. At first, if you read it carefully, she tried to dodge the issue of “Bringing her husband.” She quickly just replied “I have no husband.” Her guilt was staring her right in the face, and Jesus was touching that wound. Her evasion is our natural response as well to the healing touch of the Savior. At first, we naturally want to hide our sin, pretend it doesn’t exist. But Jesus, God, the creator of the Universe knows all about us! He is infinite and we are not. We think his reaction to our sin will be like ours – it is repulsive! But Jesus tenderly takes her and reminds her that her life has been a series of broken relationships and that now she is in another bad relationship, but he neither condemns her nor rebukes her, he simply tells her he knows her.
At the end of it all, we all of us simply want to be known. Our God knows us, so why is it that we still try to run and hide from him? We want to be valued, and his word tells us that he knows the number of hairs on our heads! We want to be loved, and he died for us. What greater love is there?
We’ve talked a lot about prayer lately and how it actually changes things. I told somebody yesterday about what seems a trivial thing, but in reality is not. I was struggling last week with a bug in the system I’m writing. I made a whole flock of changes in one area of the system and it broke something in a completely different place. In Computer Science we call that “Side-effects.” It’s actually quite common in large, complex systems. But finding where the side-effect is can really drive you nuts!
I was struggling, pretty much cursing and swearing at the computer (again). How on earth is it the fault of the computer anyhow? Never mind. I was frustrated, and I’d been searching for hours to try and figure out what the heck I did wrong. Cheryl comes in and sits down and says she’ll pray for me. She starts to pray and BING! Like a light bulb, I found it! No kidding! So, why the heck didn’t I just stop and pray first? Stupidity? Arrogance? Pride?
The Lord cares for us. He cares about the small things. He is infinite and can handle millions of prayers all at the same time. We don’t get that because we are finite and selfish and self-centered. We have no concept how a God, our God, THE God could be so large. But, he created everything for us – so that we would know him and want to have relationship with him! So, we ought to turn to him. We must humble ourselves, realize our need for him, to save us from our own sin, our selfishness and self-centeredness. We need to be turned away from ourselves and our own depravity towards the one who can give us life everlasting.