Friday, January 24, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: A Miracle


The Miracle That Almost Didn’t Happen

A devotional by Amy Odland


“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”
– John 11:43-44 (NIV)

I have been meditating on a different verse lately and thinking how it applies to this story about Jesus and Lazarus. It’s Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) where Paul mentions God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

When we read about Larazus’ death, we have the benefit of hindsight, of looking back and saying "Wow! This amazing and miraculous thing happened!"

They didn’t have this benefit back then and because they couldn’t even fathom it, almost stopped the miracle from happening.

When Jesus got to the tomb, he said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha’s reply was (my paraphrase), “Are you SERIOUS? He’s gonna stink something BAD, oh MY, Lord.” 


Poor Martha was worried about the stink! She probably thought Jesus just wanted to pay his respects to the body because he wasn’t there when Lazarus died. Keep in mind, this was even after she and Jesus had just had a conversation about life and death and him being the “resurrection and the life.” Martha still had no expectation of Jesus raising her brother from the dead before her very eyes. She could not even imagine such a thing.

I don’t know that I have any awesome personal examples to share. No earth-shattering miracles happening over here like people rising from the dead. My dad died of a sudden stroke almost 19 years ago at age 50 – he’s still dead.

I still have family members who don’t believe in Jesus – they haven’t changed their minds and believed in an instant. I still have thorns in my flesh I wish God would take away.

But I have seen bucket loads of little things happen over the years: Protection from evil I wasn’t even anticipating. Guidance and wisdom given when I’d asked. Healing — albeit slowly — physically and spiritually from sicknesses and wounds.

Individually these things would maybe not move me to expand my imagination of what God can accomplish, but the culmination of them together over my lifetime makes where I am now in life feel like a miracle. I tend to be like Martha and worry about the stink, a.k.a. the here and now or the circumstances, but reflecting on all God has done in my life can renew my hope and revitalize my prayers just as seeing and interacting with a LIVE Lazarus in the days that followed probably did for all who knew him.

Martha and Mary and the other people mourning Lazarus that day had no idea what they were going to see. Their imaginations couldn’t create something so astounding, something they’d only heard about in the Scriptures up until that point. But after seeing Lazarus walk out of that tomb with the burial clothes hanging off of him, I would imagine the self-inflicted limitations of their prayers and beliefs were expanded greatly.

Do you feel ridiculous asking for a crazy thing, just as Mary and Martha would’ve felt asking for Lazarus to come back from the dead? Have you noticed when hope dwindles, our prayers become limited?

God really can do immeasurable things, beyond what we can even think to ask for.

Lazarus’ resurrection was for a purpose … so those who witnessed it would believe God sent Jesus.

What big prayer should you be asking Him in the midst of your hopeless situation?

We can know to pray for something crazy, something we’d never imagined before, because God has done crazy things before and He could very well choose to do them again in your life to show His power to those around you.

Your big prayer being answered could have a purpose too. God can’t say “yes,” though, if you don’t ask. Don’t let the title of this devotional be the title of your prayer life. Make the big ask. Move beyond what you can imagine or think. Move into God’s immeasurable power that is within you. Don’t be the miracle that almost didn’t happen.

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Author Bio:
Amy Odland has been serving in church ministry as a volunteer leader for over 16 years, in various worship, prayer and women’s ministry roles. 

Her passion for helping women stems from her own struggles and lessons learned in her journey as a Christian since first deciding to follow the Lord in 1994.

Amy’s priorities after her faith include her family — husband Rick, and their four kids — as well as extended family who all live close in proximity and the many friends she’s made over the years.

In addition to a love of teaching and helping her husband with the bookkeeping for their many businesses, Amy has recently expanded her stay-at-home work to include leading author’s book launch teams for publishing companies like Baker, Revell, Barbour, and Lifeway.

She also enjoys teaching new authors about platform building, self-launching, and online marketing.


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2 comments:

  1. Your words give me just what I need today to pray for a miracle in a family member’s life after major disappointment. God can do anything!

    ReplyDelete
  2. May God do a mighty work in your family member's life, MGJ! Thank you for your comment and I'll be echoing your prayer.
    - Amy Odland, amyodland.com

    ReplyDelete