For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Today's meditation is an excerpt from my third novel, Revelation, in the Adventures in The Glade Series. Without giving away too much of the plot, as I hope you will be intrigued enough to order my novels, allow me to set up the scene.
Betty Rae is the wife of Jim's (Davy's stepfather) cousin, Ronnie, who is in the hospital because of a severe gunshot wound to his hand. Naturally, Betty Rae is struggling with her emotions at this inconceivable turn of events. Pastor Mike is in the emergency waiting room with Jim for an extremely pressing reason, which I will not spoil here with an explanation, and can't help but note Betty Rae's distress. My hope is that this exchange between Pastor Mike and Betty Rae will inspire you to share the Good News with those so in need of hearing it.
"Mrs. Carson?" Betty Rae looked up and saw Mike regarding her with kind, sympathetic eyes behind his round spectacles. "I'm Pastor Mike Russell, from Nantahala United Methodist Church. Would you mind if I sat down?" Betty Rae didn't utter a word, but simply motioned half-heartedly at the empty chair next to her. Mike promptly took his seat and turned to face Betty Rae, but she didn't respond in kind. Instead she resumed staring at the far wall, as if she had no company whatsoever. Her face wore a passive expression that belied the turmoil she was enduring inside. Though Betty Rae seemed on the surface to be resigned to whatever fate befell her this dreadful day, Mike was sure he glimpsed a hint of distress in her eyes. "Mrs. Carson?" Mike tried again, his voice barely audible. "Would you like me to pray with you?"
Betty Rae turned toward Mike this time, blinking her eyes as if she were seeing him for the first time. As she pondered his question in her mind, her appearance transformed from one of indifference to one of haughty indignation. "You want to pray with me?" Betty Rae snarled sarcastically. "Aren't you with Jim over there? Aren't you his preacher? What would he think about you cozying up to the enemy?"
"You're not the enemy, Mrs. Carson," Mike calmly assured her. "In fact, we just finished praying for you a few moments ago. I just thought you might need someone to pray with you."
"Think again," Betty Rae huffed angrily. "I don't believe in all that hocus-pocus prayer stuff. Never did me any good when I tried in the past, so don't think for a minute I'm going to try it again."
Mike was understandably flustered by Betty Rae's unexpected declaration and flippant attitude, but he decided to push the envelope. "So I'm assuming by what you just stated, Mrs. Carson," he ventured, "that you and Mr. Carson don't attend church?"
"Oh, we attend church, all right," she protested. "Wouldn't be right not to. I mean, what would folks think? I just don't like all the religion garbage."
Mike pounced on this window of opportunity. "God doesn't like religion either," he avowed.
Betty Rae's mouth few open and her eyes grew round with disbelief. "How can you say that, you being a preacher and all?" she spluttered. "I've never heard the likes!"
"But it's true," Mike continued, undeterred. "God doesn't like religion. What He likes, what He wants from us, is relationship."
"Relationship?" Betty Rae was dumbfounded. "What does that mean?"
"It's why God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth," Mike stated unpretentiously, "to die for our sins and restore a right relationship with the Father, or to be more accurate, as our Daddy, the One who loves us immeasurably as His children."
Betty Rae scowled as she mulled Mike's words over in her mind. Daddy? How preposterous! God wants us to call Him that? It seems too simple; too good to be true. Yet this Pastor Russell seems so sure of it. I can't think why he wouldn't be telling me the truth. But I still can't wrap my head around it. "Pastor Russell," she said flatly, her frown still in place, "I don't know what to think about what you just said. No one's ever explained it like that to me. I need time to digest it."
"You do that, Mrs. Carson," Mike said encouragingly as he stood up to go. "Now, if you will excuse me . . ."
"Wait!" Betty Rae's command startled him. "Sit back down. I've changed my mind."
"Changed your mind?" Mike asked.
"Yes," she said as Mike caught the barest glimmer of a smile on her face. "I'll take those prayers after all."
Prayer is powerful. Think again before you dismiss praying with or for someone else. Like Pastor Mike knows, trusting in God to hear our prayers is a win-win, every time!
I will not be posting any new blog entries next week due to the Thanksgiving holidays. Know that I wish you all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, and I will see you back here on Wednesday, November 30th. God bless!