This month (Originally written in Sept. 08, this was the last month I taught Ladies' Bible study at our Nigerien church before returning to the States for Mary Michelle's birth), we looked at another "rendez-vous" with the Lord. So far, we've considered the Lord's meetings with:
- His mother Mary and the servants at the wedding feast in Cana,
- and the Samaritan woman at the well.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee. (John 4.46-54, KJV)
- Mary, Jesus' mother, knew that she could approach the Lord with whatever her need, big or small. So can we, for He is the same Lord now that He was then.
- Jesus responded to her, and will also respond to us. It is not always the response that we desire, for which we are looking, or what we want to hear. But, He does and will respond.
- We can have confidence in Him, just as Mary did, that whatever His response, whatever He chooses to do, it will be very good.
- Jesus performs extravagant miracles - things far and above what we could imagine or dream up on our own. He loves to bring pleasure to those He loves.
- The servants, those in the position of unquestioning and immediate obedience, where the first to see and recognize this miracle of Jesus. To see God working, we too must be found in the position of obedience.
- Nothing protects us from problems during this life. If we are alive, we can expect trouble and difficulties.
- It is often those troubles and difficulties that push us to seek and search for the Lord.
- Jesus is approachable, and longs to see our persistance as we seek Him.
- Jesus responds, not just as we expect or want, but often in a manner that is even more magnificent, extravagent and far beyond what we were actually asking Him to do.
- Faith and belief are best demonstrated by obedience.
- God's Word is infinitely powerful.
- Those in the position of a servant, those set on obeying the Lord, are the ones who first recognize His hand and His miracles.
Did you notice that several of these key points are repeated from the water into wine encounter earlier in John? The ladies at Bible study did!
There was one other thing that the Lord so impressed upon my heart as I prepared for this Bible study: the father's dedication and engagement in the life of his child. Most parents will tell you that they love their children and would do anything for them - but one priority that I need to make even more of a priority is to truly pray for my children, to spend time before the throne of grace truly interceding on their behalf. Do I pray? Of course. Could I pray more fervently. Definitely! And prayer according to the will of God is an investment into the lives of our children (or the children who the Lord has placed into our lives) is an investment with eternal dividends. Several years ago, just before Nadia was born, I attended a baby shower where I was given a bookmark titled: "16 Things to Pray for Your Children." I've carried that bookmark around in my Bible ever since - trying to frequently pray through that list for each individual child. I decided to translate that list and share it with the ladies at Bible Study. They loved it - and the ladies who can read asked me to make a bookmarks for them to carry around in their Bibles. They also committed to pray for their own children along these lines - several were ideas they had never considered before - as well as to pray for the youth and children who attend the church or who they have the potential to influence in their homes and neighborhoods. It is wonderful to see them get excited about an opportunity for ministry such as this!