Monthly Archives: October 2019

How Much Confidence Do You Have in God?

“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.” (John 14:12)

In a 2016 Gallup poll, 89% of Americans said they believed in God. While this widespread belief may seem remarkable given recent trends in our pop culture, a more telling question might be how much confidence do we have in God with respect to our day-to-day actions?

Do we seek his guidance for both large and small decisions? Do we tell the boss what he or she wants to hear or speak the truth? Do we correct a teenage son or daughter even though it may provoke an extreme reaction? Do we offer to pray with a co-worker who has just learned that he or she has been diagnosed with cancer?

In Hope for the Workplace – Christ in You, there is the story of Dr. Sheri Donaldson, a physical therapist whose co-worker, Ashley, was scheduled for an MRI to check on a piece of brain tumor that could not be removed from a prior surgery. Every time Ashley would have an MRI to check on the status of the tumor, she would get very anxious. On this occasion it turns out that Sheri was able to see Ashley right before she was leaving for her appointment. Sheri sensed that the Lord wanted her to pray with Ashley that this time the MRI would show that the tumor was gone. While Sheri had reservations about whether she should follow what she deemed a prompting from the Holy Spirit, she nevertheless placed her hand on Ashley’s forehead and prayed in the name of Jesus that the tumor would be gone.

Sheri reports, “The next time we saw each other, I was walking down the hallway past Ashley’s office when she yelled, ‘Sheri, THE TUMOR IS GONE!’ Not a trace of it on the MRI, even though it had been present on every MRI for several years.”

We see in Sheri’s story someone who not only believes in God, but also has the confidence in God to step out and boldly offer to pray with her friend that God would heal her and take away all trace of the remaining piece of brain tumor. ( – p.105)

In connection with Jesus’ promise above, he also says, “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) Our motivation, in addition to helping someone or some situation, should always be to bring glory to God.

The Bible has many promises like this one. How much confidence do we have in them?

How Long Will You Live?

“If a man dies will he live again?” (Job 14:14)

One characteristic common to all living things is that they eventually die. People, animals, birds, microbes, plants, even the giant redwoods that can live a thousand years, die at some point. The cycle of birth, life and death may vary, but the sequence remains the same for all. The Psalmist says, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth.” (Psalm 39:5)

But then Jesus says, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25, 26) This, of course, runs counter to what we experience in being born into this physical world, living the life we see, hear and touch.

Many years ago a secretary with whom I worked was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Her name was Rita. She went through multiple surgeries and treatments. I watched her as she went from this vibrant woman in her prime, full of life, grace and happiness, literally shrink physically before my eyes as the cancer and treatments sapped the life from her. In visiting her a few days before she died, I was shocked at her physically deteriorated state.

That evening, while reflecting on her condition, the thought came to me that while the cancer was destroying her physical body, it could not destroy her because who she was included so much more than her physical body. Yes, her physical nature had a part in defining who she was, but the most important part of her was her personality, her gracious and loving manner, her kindness, her willingness to listen to a co-worker with a problem, her diligence in her work, her quiet peace and joy when our office was experiencing a chaotic moment, her inclination to love no matter who was standing in front of her.

These non-physical characteristics of Rita were what really made her who she was. They would not die with her body. They would live on. As physical beings we struggle with defining the non-physical. We use words like soul and spirit that have the potential to transcend the physical realm. The writer of Ecclesiastes observes, “He has set eternity into the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Eccl. 33:11)

Jesus answers Job’s question. We die to this physical world in the current age, but if we believe in him, the best part of us lives on — soul and spirit. Just as God raised Jesus to new life with a different kind of body, he promises to do the same for those who believe.

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?’”               (1 Cor. 15:53-55)