No Doubt About It!

“You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left
.
John 4:50

It has taken me a lifetime to imitate the man about whom John wrote the words above. I admit that I’ve succeeded only some of the time. This man was a royal official, likely quite used to having his every need met without question. At the time, the man’s child lay dying. He’d likely tapped every resource at his disposal to find a cure. Still, in spite of his position and perhaps out of desperation, the man went to Jesus for help. When Jesus instructed him to go home because his son was recovering, the man believed Jesus and did as he asked. The man wasn’t disappointed.

I’m not sure of what urged this royal official to turn to Jesus. I’m certain that he knew only a fraction of what we have come to know about him. Still, in the face of two thousand years’ proof of God’s love for us in more than a billion lifetimes, I sometimes doubt. I don’t doubt God’s love. What I sometimes doubt is my ability to participate in God’s loving ways by praying. I wonder if my prayers for healing or peace or a turn of events for someone who has asked me to pray make a difference. Then, someone thanks me for praying for his sick brother who has recovered. A friend calls to thank me for praying during her MRI. A neighbor thanks me for praying for her grandchild who will experience birth in a few short weeks. As my prayers continue and this list of thanks grows, I’m assured that every conversation in which God and I engage is worth the time. Whatever God’s response, I, too, will never be disappointed.

Compassionate God, thank you for assuring us that there is never any doubt about your love and the power of our prayers.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Gifts of Hope and Joy

The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest…

From Isaiah 11:7

My husband and I sometimes grow weary of our full schedules. This is the reason we have happily curtailed our Christmas preparations this year. The truth is that we both enjoy our traditions. As a result, we haven’t “curtailed” our activities as much as we’ve organized our efforts. Preparing our home -both inside and out- for our family and friends is symbolic of our love for each one of them. Giving up any of this would dampen our experience of Christmas. Advent 2017 will lose its luster if we don’t prepare as is our custom. You see, our busyness during the days before Christmas keeps us focused on poor Mary and Joseph as they scrambled to prepare for Jesus’ birth so long ago. It also keeps us focused on the reasons we do what we do for others.

I’m happy to share that we have started our decorating and shopping early. This timing has energized us enough to attend to our “full schedules” with joy rather than angst. Though the phone continues to ring, our good will remains intact. Perhaps this is the reason Jesus ministered so generously to the needy souls who came his way. In offering others hope, Jesus found joy.

I know. I seem to be in a rut with all of this organizing for Advent and Christmas. I have reason for this. My hope is to inspire you to do the same. Enjoy!

Loving God, thank you for the moments of joy that come in the midst of our efforts to care for one another.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Let Us Pray

“You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left
.
John 4:50

It has taken me a lifetime to imitate the man about whom John wrote the words above. I admit that I have succeeded only some of the time. This man was a royal official, likely quite used to having his every need met without question. At the time, the man’s child lay dying. He had likely tapped every resource at his disposal to find a cure. Still, in spite of his position and out of desperation, the man sought out Jesus for help. When Jesus instructed him to go home because his son was recovering, the man believed Jesus and went home. The man was not disappointed.

I’m not sure of what urged that royal official to turn to Jesus. I’m certain that he knew only a fraction of what we have come to know about Jesus. Still, in the face of two thousand years of proof of God’s love for us in more than a billion lifetimes, I sometimes doubt. I don’t doubt God’s love. What I sometimes doubt is my ability to participate in God’s love by praying. I wonder if my prayers for healing or peace or a turn of events for someone who has asked me to pray make a difference. Then, someone thanks me for praying for his sick wife who has recovered. Another friend thanks me for praying during his dad’s successful cancer surgery. A neighbor thanks me for praying for her grandchild who will experience birth in a few short weeks. As my prayers continue and this list of thanks grows, I’m assured that every conversation in which God and I engage makes a difference.

The outcomes I share are all the best that could be hoped for. It seems to me that even when an outcome isn’t everything that we’d hoped for, knowing that God is with us through it all is enough.

Compassionate God, there is never doubt about your love and the power of our prayers.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Ignite Hope and Find Joy

Large crowds of people came to him bringing with them cripples,
the deformed, the blind, the mute, and many others besides.
They laid them at his feet and he cured them.

Matthew 15:30

My husband and I sometimes grow weary of our full schedules. It was in the midst of one such bout of fatigue that I suggested that we curtail our Christmas decorating this year. After giving this urging a bit of thought, my husband responded with a suggestion of his own. “Why don’t we just get a head start on it?” he asked. The truth is that we both enjoy this tradition. Preparing our home -both inside and out- for our family and friends is symbolic of our love for each one of them. Giving up any of this would dampen our experience of Christmas. Advent 2015 would have lost its luster as well. Somehow, our busyness these days before Christmas keeps us focused on poor Mary and Joseph as they scrambled to prepare for Jesus’ birth so long ago. It also keeps us focused on the reasons we do what we do for others.

In the end, I agreed with my husband. We started our decorating and shopping early. Amazingly enough, this timing has energized us enough to attend to those “full schedules” with joy rather than angst. Though the phone has continued to ring, our good will remains intact. Perhaps this is the reason Jesus ministered so generously to the needy souls who came his way. In offering others hope, Jesus found joy.

Loving God, thank you for the moments of giving in which we ignite hope in others and find the joy you intend for us all.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

No Doubt!

“You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left
.
John 4:50

It has taken me a lifetime to imitate the man about whom John wrote the words above. I admit that I have succeeded only some of the time. This man was a royal official, likely quite used to having his every need met without question. At the time, the man’s child lay dying. He had likely tapped every resource at his disposal to find a cure. Still, in spite of his position and out of desperation, the man sought out Jesus for help. When Jesus instructed him to go home because his son was recovering, the man believed Jesus and went home. The man was not disappointed.

I’m not sure of what urged this royal official to turn to Jesus. I’m certain that he knew only a fraction of what we have come to know about Jesus. Still, in the face of two thousand years of proof of God’s love for us in more than a billion lifetimes, I sometimes doubt. I don’t doubt God’s love. What I sometimes doubt is my ability to participate in God’s love by praying. I wonder if my prayers for healing or peace or a turn of events for someone who has asked me to pray make a difference. Then, someone thanks me for praying for his sick wife who has recovered. My sister calls to thank me for praying during her MRI. My friend thanks me for praying for her grandchild who will experience birth in a few short weeks. As my prayers continue and this list of thanks grows, I am assured that every conversation in which God and I engage makes a difference. Whatever God’s response, I, too, will not be disappointed.

Compassionate God, thank you for assuring us that there is never any doubt about your love and the power of our prayers.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Dispel The Doubt

“You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left
.
John 4:50

It has taken me a lifetime to imitate the man about whom John wrote the words above. I am sorry to admit that I have succeeded only some of the time. This man was a royal official, likely quite used to having his every need met without question. At the time, the man’s child lay dying. He had likely tapped every resource at his disposal to find a cure. Still, in spite of his position and out of desperation, the man sought out Jesus for help. Something he had heard about Jesus convinced him to seek Jesus’ help. When Jesus instructed him to go home because his son was recovering, the man believed Jesus and went home. The man was not disappointed.

I cannot be sure of what this royal official learned about Jesus before he approached him for help. However, I am quite certain that he knew only the tiniest fraction of what we have come to know about Jesus in the two millennia since. Still, in the face of two thousand plus years of proof of God’s love for us in more than a billion lifetimes, there are times when I doubt.

Compassionate God, you love us far more than we love ourselves, yet we doubt. Please strengthen our faith in your constant companionship and care. Let us simply believe and be on our way.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved