Perhaps you found th is story in your e-mail inbox recently.
A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph’s Hospital. She timidly asked, “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?”
The operator said, “I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number?”
In her weak and tremulous voice, the grandmother said, “Norma Findlay, Room 302.”
The operator replied, “Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse.”
After a few minutes the operator returned to the phone and said, “Oh, I have good news. Her nurse told me that Norma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine, her blood work is normal, and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged on Tuesday.”
“Thank you,” the grandmother said. “That’s wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you for the good news.”
The operator replied, “You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?”
To which the grandmother said, “No, I’m Norma Findlay in 302. No one tells me anything.”
A cute story, to be sure. Yet, we often feel like Norma. We wonder what God is doing in our lives. We want to know when the answers to our prayers will arrive. We wish we could place a phone call to heaven to ask God how we are doing. Unfortunately, God often asks us to walk along without little more than our faith in Jesus to guide us.
How can we continue on without knowing how we are doing? What “road signs” can we look for to be sure we are on the right path? The Apostle Peter gives us a hint.
“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust” (2 Peter 1:3,4 The Message).
Getting to know Jesus, personally and intimately—doing so helps us continue on the path of life set out for us by God. Many believers come to faith with sincere intent. Yet, the relationship withers because they fail to tend and nurture the small plant of faith.
Any relationship grows by time spent together. Likewise, our relationship with Christ is cultivated through time with Him in prayer. Jesus modeled this skill when he left the crowds to pray and spend time with God. Take time to get away from responsibilities, from frustrations, from fears, and talk to God. But don’t forget to listen. Prayer is a conversation. You may never hear an audible voice, but be assured that God is talking to you, if you take time to let Him.
Second, we get to know Jesus intimately by spending time learning the Word of God. Jesus modeled this relationship skill, as well. He knew the Scriptures and studied them, being able to teach others. Although written thousands of years ago, God’s Word is surprisingly relevant to everyday life in this “modern” world. The Bible acts as food for our spirits on the journey of faith.
Finally, we need to apply the promises we have received from God, flexing the muscles of faith, strengthening them through use. Lack of use of our physical muscles will cause atrophy; they will waste away. The same is true of our spirits. If we fail to use our faith, stepping out on the promises God has given us, our spirits will remain weak and feeble, and our relationship with God will wither on the vine.
We don’t have to call someone else to find out how we are doing. Each of us who are children of God has a direct line to the Doctor. We can get regular updates on our condition by visiting the Doctor’s office with prayer, by reading the Doctor’s book, written for our benefit, and by acting on the things we learn thereby.
If you don’t have a church home, you are invited to visit us at Ebenezer Presbyterian. Come and hear the Word of God and worship with us. I guarantee you’ll find something to help nurture your relationship with God.
Blessings on you and yours.
Pastor Mary Kay Glunt