The Monday in the 4th Week of Lent
March 20, 2023
John 4: 43-54
John 4: 48-50. “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.’ The nobleman said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ So, the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way.”
Thirty years ago on a Sunday afternoon, I desperately needed rest. A protracted period of grief left me exhausted. It was 1993, a year so hellish that my husband closed it on New Year’s Eve by climbing atop our dinner table and before our children and God, raised a whisky to the heavens and declared, “1993 IS OVER!”
That spring, my athletic husband was diagnosed with crippling hip arthritis at age 36. Soon after, my beloved brother Bo was killed as a passenger in a car wreck. Not long after that, my first born and 6-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare, incurable, eye disease that would make him go slowly blind. Thank God they say bad news comes in threes because I had hit my limit.
I attended church my whole life and knew well this chapter from John. I went to it over and over, and to every prayer service and faith healer. I pounded pavement trying to make this scripture come true for me, my family, and the church.
Weary on that Sunday afternoon 30 years ago, I lied down to rest upon a moist and tear-stained pillow. I don’t know how long I had been asleep when, suddenly, I awoke to an awareness of an unseen presence. I was not alone. Tears again flowed, not of sadness but joy. I was surrounded by a presence that radiated pure love and joy. It overwhelmed all else but at the same time was so light. I saw two people there – my son who appeared blind and my husband in a wheelchair. They, too, were held within the immense presence before me. My rational thought was that this could only be from God, and that nothing could destroy me or the people I love. I have known nothing like it since.
My husband sometimes says, “I’m not an expert but I’m clear on what I know.” I could say the same thing. I don’t have many answers, but I know what is true. The love of God is real and can change you in all circumstances, sometimes with signs and wonders. Seek his presence, it is often said. God helping, I mean to do so too.