Thursday, April 19, 2012

The God who Listens

Continuing with the Bible reading journey at Gethsemane using Peterson's The Message of Hope... here's my reflection for today:

The story from Mark 9 (pages 37-39) where Jesus heals a father's son is one of the most meaningful stories in the Bible for me. I've wrestled with my emotions many times in my life (and I thank God for the gift of medication to help with that) so the way that Jesus relates to the *father* in this story has always been big for me. There's a point in the story where everything has come to a head: a huge crowd is getting even bigger, religious leaders are going after the disciples who are distressed because they haven't been able to help the boy, and the boy himself is flung to the grown in front of everyone in a dramatic seizure/demonic attack. In that moment, Jesus turns to the father of the boy and says... "How long has he been this way?" You can just hear the years of sorrow pour out of this man as he answers... "Oh, it's been going on ever since he was a child... and sometimes it's been like this.... and other times its been like this..." It's just astonishing. Jesus makes everyone wait - including the boy writhing on the ground! - so that this dad can share his heart while Jesus just stands there and listens. That poor guy's feelings *matter* that much to Jesus. It almost feels like there are two healings here... one for the father and one for his son. (Similar to the incredible story in Mark 5 where Jesus is interrupted by a woman needing healing while he's on his way to heal a little girl!) But for me, it's just this powerful witness that feelings - my feelings - really matter to God. So much so that there are times when other things - really, really important things - need to take a back seat for a while so that I can simply share my heart with the Lord who really, really listens.

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