Ask Anyway.

The Good Word for January 17 ~ for the complete Sunday readings click here.

What’s the best advice you have ever received? I’ve received lots of advice and wisdom over the years. All of it was well intentioned; some of it was actually helpful. Statements like, “Never play cards for money with a man who has the same first name as a city,” seems to be helpful, but only for specific situations.

Other advice seems to apply more broadly. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been told is, “Go ahead and ask; let them say no. Don’t answer for anyone else. Ask anyway.” In other words, sometimes we don’t even ask for something we want or need because we believe the answer will be no. The answer could still be no, but ask. Following this advice is how I got my first girlfriend and probably why I often eat two cookies when the sign says, “take one.” So results may vary, I guess.

In the gospel, Mary asks Jesus to help with a very delicate situation. The wine has run out at this wedding feast. Wedding celebrations could last multiple days in ancient Israel; to run out of wine meant the party was over and was a major embarrassment. She went to Jesus, explained the problem, and he told her no. But then he helped.

A friend of mine asked the question, “Did Mary know that Jesus would make more wine? Did she know he could change water into wine? Did she know that he could do this miracle?” This got me thinking. I don’t think Jesus just regularly was doing miracles at home. He probably wasn’t transforming stuff around the house. “Look mom, I dusted by turning all the dust bunnies into real bunnies!” No. Mary didn’t know how Jesus would help. But she trusted that Jesus would help.

Mary asked.

Sometimes we answer for God. We say, “God’s too busy for my little problem,” or, “God doesn’t actually do things just because he is asked.” Sometimes we use past experiences of not getting exactly what we want to stop us from asking now.

But what if we ask like Mary asked? What if we prayed, “God I don’t know how you are going to help this situation, but I put it in your hands. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

So let’s ask God. Let’s not keep any thing from Him. Let’s give him our good stuff, and our problems. Let’s ask for God’s help. And let’s do whatever he tells us to do.

Live It:
Ask something of God. Don’t wait. Right now stop, ask God for something spectacular (or small if that is what you need).

Jesus, HELP! Prayers from the top of the play set.

The Good Word for Oct. 25th ~ for the complete Sunday readings click here. 

Have you ever had to call out for help? I have a 6 year old who loves our backyard refurbished-backyard-adventures-playset-fullplay set. She doesn’t always use the hanging rings or swing or ladder in the way they were intended. Every now and again she gets herself stuck. Usually this means she is hanging upside down with a foot wedged somewhere and she can’t quite figure out how to get down with out landing on her head. It’s then, when she knows she needs help, that she yells for help.

In the gospel today, when Bartimeaus hears that Jesus is near, he cries out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Bartimaeus needs help. He knows that he is stuck in his current situation and calls out for help because he really believes that Jesus will help him.

The difference between Bartimaeus and my daughter’s cry for help is that my daughter knows what I am going to do for her. She knows I will hold her up, help her get un-stuck, and lower her down without her getting hurt. But when Bartimaeus calls out for Jesus he does so trusting that Jesus will do something for him, but he doesn’t really know what.

For me the lesson is that when we call out to Jesus, open to whatever he is willing to do for us, great things can happen – maybe even greater than we imagine in the first place. And our cry doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be the right incantation of words as if prayer is a magic spell. Prayer is as simple as calling out Jesus’ name and waiting in hope for his answer.

When was the last time you cried out to Jesus? Are there people or pressures in your life telling you to be quiet and stay in your place? What do you want God to do for you?

No matter what is going on in your life right now; whether you feel like you are blindly moving forward, barely surviving each day or you feel like you have everything under control, God wants to help you see better than you do right now. Cry out to him. Call Jesus and he will come near.

Live It:
Next time you are alone, find some silence, and say out loud, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And then listen.