He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
While we like suggestions and options, there are times in our lives when we need to be told what to do. At these times we don’t need the Cheesecake Factory menu of life, with about 250 things to choose from. We don’t need a supermarket of spiritual options, like an entire grocery store aisle dedicated to potato chips.
There are times when we need specific instruction and direction for our life. My orthopedic surgeon told me that I was headed towards hip replacements. Notice that I used the plural “s” and not the singular “e” ending. Replacements, more than one.
But the conversation didn’t end there. He sternly looked me in the eye and demanded that I lose weight. It was not a suggestion. It was not an idea to consider. It wasn’t even something that I was to research on the internet. No. It was an order.
Jesus gives two orders to the four adults in the room while the little girl is walking all around.
· Order #1 – Keep quiet. Jesus strictly instructed them not to tell anyone. Now, they couldn’t hide the fact that their daughter was alive, but they weren’t to go around, talking about it, posting selfies on social media. This was their blessing, their secret. They had a life to live and having a million social media followers was not going to help them or Jesus.
· Order #2 – Feed her. Jesus also gives a command that they feed the little girl. She had some immediate, physical needs that required their attention. It would be understandable if they got distracted by all the excitement, so this reminder was very wise.
What orders has God given to you? He has, you know. He’s given you orders for your life. The most important ones are to be totally in love with God and to love our neighbor just like we want to be loved.
But there are other orders that we’ve received.
After life-saving spinal surgery, I was put in ICU because they really didn’t know what had caused the seven-inch blood clot that was at the root of my paralysis. While I was laying there, our pastor came to visit me. We spoke briefly and then he prayed. I’ll never forget his prayer. He didn’t quote the 23rd Psalm, or some other passage of comfort. No, he repeated a promise from God and his plan for me.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4
Yes, we are to thank God. Yes, we are to give God all the glory and praise. Yes, we are to receive comfort. But it didn’t stop there. There was a purpose and plan for our troubles. And what was that purpose?
· To lay down in our recliner by the poolside of life?
· To wallow in the sunshine of God’s power and provision?
· To sit back and relax, knowing that God has this?
No, we are to get up and get working. You have a set of God-given experiences that only you can talk about. Only you can share that message of hope and comfort with people. Your past troubles are the keys that open doors for other people to experience the comfort that we ourselves have received.
In the movie, The Robe, Richard Burton and Betta St. John have a touching scene together. Marcellus is a Roman soldier and has known only power and forced conquest. He’s totally confused by a happy, yet crippled, Miriam. She says that Jesus followers have something better than power.
We have hope. He left me as I am, so that all others like me might know that their misfortune needn’t deprive them of happiness within his kingdom.
Has Jesus left you where you are to grow and show hope? Could it be that Jesus has brought you a unique set of experiences so that you could speak and live with authority about them? That you could become a living lesson for others to see that their pain and limitations do not disqualify them from a meaningful life?
The answer isn’t, “I think so.” But, “I know so.”