As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?” John 9:1-2 (CEV)
Recently someone remarked on this story commenting on the scientific ignorance of the people of Jesus’ time. Many today still believe that misfortune, disease, even “untimely” death occurs because of the sins of the person or their loved ones. Fear can make us say and do many things.
There are several people I know who are going through a very difficult season in their lives. When someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or, as many here along the Gulf Coast are now experiencing, must weather the destruction of a home or loss of a job, I want to reach out and do something or say something that can make a difference.
Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!
Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because that will make me truly happy. 2 Timothy 1:2-4 (CEV)
When I tell someone who is hurting that I will remember them in my prayers, it may feel like an apology “it’s all I can do.” The truth is – it is the best and first thing I should do! Taking someone to God and asking for His presence in their life is an expression of my love and heartfelt concern for what they are going through. Paul, the mentor, tells Timothy that he prays 24/7 and Timothy has a place in those continuous prayers. While other supportive actions may be helpful in a situation, prayer is certainly the best action to begin and end with whatever else I may do.
However, when it comes to talking, I believe prayer is where I should do the most talking. In the privacy of my prayers I can say what I think and God will correct me. God will answer my prayers better than I can pray them! The disciples learn from Jesus that God did not drop punishment on His unsuspecting children but was in their lives in a very real and tangible way (John 9:3-5). Jesus followed His words with a “muddy miracle.”
I believe God is in our lives, both in joy and sorrow. God has become very real to me and I see Him chuckling with me as He watches my grandchildren play. He is also with me in the dark of the night as I weep remembering my youngest son and missing him so very much. But here is the point we must all remember: The “why” of the circumstances and the “how” of God in those circumstances is personal and specific to each person. God is a good father and knows the needs of each of His children. He will speak and show Himself to meet those needs. And that comes back around to how I can help my friends, as I pray they will have ears to hear and an open heart to receive God’s love, strength and healing.
Let us have confidence and trust God’s Holy Spirit to speak and touch those we love in whatever their life circumstances. May we not impose our questions and fears on others but instead pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and listen as God speaks to us.
I Am Praying for You written & sung by Scott Brown