Monday, July 10, 2006

How God Responds

The readings for today are taken from the Book of Hosea and the Gospel of Matthew.

In Hosea, we hear of God's promise to us - a covenant of peace, as well as how the nature of things will flow. It seems so simple to follow, if only we place our trust in Him. Yet, in the Gospel of Matthew, we see that it is not always easy for others to place full trust in the Lord.

A ruler came before Christ, full of faith that the Lord only had to lay His hand upon his dead child for her to live again. A woman approached Jesus while he walked to the ruler's home, and the Lord paused with her, in a moment of healing, simply because her faith was great enough to believe that a mere touch of His cloak would bring that healing. Upon the Lord's arrival at the ruler's home, all the household were in the pangs of mourning that death. But Christ admonished them, telling them to go away because the child wasn't dead. In response, they laughed at him, but they did leave. Christ told the child to rise up, and she did.

God responds to us on His own timetable. There are some days where we feel that God is not going to respond at all - that all is lost, because He is busy elsewhere. Throughout the Old Testament, we are reminded that, in His due time, things will unfold. In the New Testament, Christ shows us that great faith in God includes understanding that we can't always have what we want when we ask for it. Things will happen, if it is His will, at a point where they will have the greatest impact on our lives. For the woman who touched His cloak, the impact was immediate. For the ruler, the impact came later, as not only a miracle but also a lesson in patience.

Hosea 2:18, 21-22 (NIV)
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
21 "In that day I will respond," declares the LORD - "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.

The Gospel of Matthew 9:18-26 (NIV)
18While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."
22Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
23When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. 25After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26News of this spread through all that region.