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Some days the pain was too much to bear, yet I could find no one who could give me relief. Some told me of this man, this prophet named Jesus, who was healing people. Word was out that he was coming to shore from across the lake. I hurried to meet this man, but I was disappointed when I arrived and saw a large crowd pressing in around him. I knew that must be Jesus.

I tried to get closer, but too many people were in front of me. I strained to see above the crowd to get a glimpse of this man. That’s when I saw Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, standing by Jesus. I was amazed when I saw Jairus fall at the feet of Jesus. I could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

A woman next to me had a wide-eyed stare. I recognized her as the woman from town who suffered for years from bleeding. I met her a couple times when I visited the doctor. She had spent all she had on doctors, seeking a cure, but her condition only worsened. “Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Jairus said if Jesus just put his hands on his little girl, she would be healed.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “That’s what he said.”

“Maybe if I just touch his robe,” she said as she continued to stare at Jesus.

“Just touch him? But how could that heal you?” I questioned her.

She didn’t respond. She just pressed into the crowd and disappeared from my sight. I looked at Jesus and saw him following Jairus as they walked. “He must be going to Jairus’ house,” I thought. I moved with the crowd as we followed Jesus. I wanted to see if his touch could really heal.

A moment later I saw Jairus and Jesus stop. “Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asked.

One of his disciples said what I thought, “You see the people crowding against you and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

But Jesus persisted and kept looking in the crowd for who had touched him. I pushed my way into the mass of people surrounding Jesus for a closer look. That’s when I spotted the woman, who I saw just moments ago, fall at his feet. She was trembling as she told him what she did.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said to her. “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

“Had she really been healed by just touching him?” I wondered. “Could I also be healed by just touching him?”

I tried to get closer to Jesus and Jairus, but some people pushed past me and stopped in front of Jairus. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

I could see Jairus’ face sink as tears began to stream down his face. That’s when I heard Jesus say to him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

I wanted to follow them to Jairus’ house, but he only let a few of his disciples go with him. I watched as they disappeared from sight. I was amazed as I stared at the woman who had suffered for years. The pain she always wore on her face was gone, replaced by joy. Could he bring Jairus’ daughter back to life?” I thought. His words echoed in my mind, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who encountered the woman healed from years of bleeding as told in Mark 5:21-36 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

In you dear God I find my hope. In Jesus Christ I find my salvation. Without you in my life dear Lord, I would be lost. I do not understand why you would spare a sinner like me, yet you constantly shower me with your grace. You patiently nurture me, deepening my faith. It causes me to praise you even more for what you have done in my life. Thank you God for sending your son Jesus. I praise you for your Word. I praise you dear Lord. All praise to you our Heavenly Father.

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

He wants to put a new song in my heart, but I do not know the words yet. He wants to make me anew, but I do not know who I am or who I should be. I am being transformed into something I have yet to see. All I can do for now is praise you dear God, that you have set me on solid ground; that you have given me a solid foundation to stand on; a firm place to rest; a place to be still and know you are God. Without you I would remain in the depths of the mud and mire, stuck in the slimy pit. My trust is in you God. You are my hope.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

I could feel the heat from the blazing furnace even at this distance. The king’s anger against these men was as hot as the furnace. I had never seen anything like it. I was horrified to think that these men would be tossed into that furnace. They would be incinerated into nothing. The punishment seemed excessive, yet I didn’t dare mention it to the king.

I remained silent as the king’s soldiers struggled against the heat to drag the men to the furnace. I tried to watch, but turned my head because of the flames. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the soldiers drop dead from the intense heat and the three men, firmly tied, fell into the furnace. My heart sank as I realized these noble men were being burned alive. We were all silent as if to be mournful, but I tried not to show my distaste for the King’s method of executing these men. It was awful to watch.

“Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” The King blurted out as he sprang to his feet. It seemed like a silly question as we had just watched the three men tumble into the furnace. “Certainly, Your Majesty,” we replied in unison. “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods,” the king uttered in amazement.

“Impossible!” I thought. “The king’s rage was making him see things.” I turned my gaze toward the furnace and was startled to see not only three men, but a fourth walking around inside the furnace! It was just as the king said. My mouth gaped open in astonishment. How had they survived such intense heat that killed the soldiers ordered to toss them in and who is that fourth person?

Then the king approached the opening of the furnace. I wanted to grab him to stop him from being overcome by the flames like his soldiers. Yet I watched the four figures walking inside the flames, untouched. I stood silent as the king shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” The three figures inside the furnace walked out of the fire unbound. It was as if they had never been bound or even been inside those intense flames.

I joined the others who crowded around Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. “How could this be?” I thought. “It’s impossible.” Unlike the soldiers, the fire had not harmed their bodies. Not even a hair on their heads was singed. I had watched in horror as those soldiers were killed by the flames and yet the robes on these men were not scorched. There was not even the smell of fire on them. I glanced back in the flames, looking for that fourth figure. My heart ached as I longed to also see that person come out of the flames. Could that have been the God who saved them?

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of a person who saw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego tossed into the furnace by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3 (NIV).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

© 2019 CGThelen

I fight the words from within

Feelings that make me weep

Whispering, “You’ll never win.”

Memories I don’t want to keep

Struggling to control thought

Trauma replays in my mind

Emotions make me distraught

I seek relief I cannot find

“Lift yourself up,” others say

Yet inner strength does fail me

While trials linger on each day

From this pain I long to be free

My weary eyes gaze skyward

I pray God will lend a hand

Doing it myself is truly absurd

Trapped in this troubled land

Step by step I learn to walk

With faith in God as my guide

Being self sufficient is all talk

Since now in Christ I do abide

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

© 2019 CGThelen

Why did I have to be with the last ones? I knew it was my own fault for hesitating to leave when my division packed up and headed out laden with silver, gold and clothing as well as their unleavened bread. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw the Egyptians urge us to hurry and leave. I think they were actually scared to have us around after all those plagues, especially that last one. I have to admit I was scared as the first born son, but we did as the Lord instructed through Moses and I was not harmed.

Only the mighty hand of God could’ve ended our slavery and brought us out of Egypt. But now fear and doubt returned as I stood between two walls of water. It was the same fear I felt when we were camped near Pi and I thought the Egyptian army was going to overtake us. I thought we were going to die right there in the desert. Moses’ words still echoed in my mind: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I saw it all with my own eyes. A pillar of cloud kept the Egyptian army from reaching us all night with darkness on one side and light on the other. I thought we were trapped by the sea until I saw Moses stretch out his hand and a strong east wind blew all night so that the waters of the Res Sea parted creating a dry path to the other side. It was an amazing sight to behold. But now here I stood watching the Egyptian army advancing, pursuing us on the same path through the Red Sea, but with fast moving chariots. I quickly trudged up the dry shore to the other side of the Red Sea with the last few people to cross, knowing I would be the among the first struck down by the army.

I wanted to run as fast as I could after reaching shore, but the word of the Lord that Moses gave us caused me to stop and turn around. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The Lord has brought us this far, yet fear began to fill me again as I watched the army coming closer. “Can I just be still and trust the Lord will fight for us, for me?”

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of a person who is part of the exodus out of Egypt through the Red Sea based on Exodus 12:31-14:31.

© 2019 CGThelen

I sat down after a long day to rest my weary body after a day of toil in the fields. My young children came to me and a I greeted them with a hug. How blessed I felt as I gazed above the heads of my children in my embrace at my beautiful wife preparing our evening meal. She smiled at me. Suddenly this moment was interrupted by a knock at the door.

My wife frowned as I glanced at the door. Once again their was a knock. I sighed and released my children as I stood up. “Who could that be?” I looked at my children gazing up at me with a curious look. They were as puzzled as I was about who was visiting us at this hour.

When I opened the door I was surprised to see the widow from down the street with her two boys. One of the boys held an armful of empty jars.

“Well, good evening,” I greeted her. I did not know her, but I had heard of her plight — how her husband died and now his creditors were likely to take her sons as slaves to pay for the debt left by her husband. I was sure she was looking for handouts to avoid the fate of her boys. In my mind I thought they were getting what they deserved. It was a consequence of taking on debt. I wasn’t about to give up what what I earned. By this time my children gathered behind me by the door as my wife looked on from the table while she continued to prepare our meal.

“Please, can you spare a few empty jars?” She asked.

“Empty jars?” I didn’t expect that request. “What do you want with empty jars “ I asked. She certainly did not have anything to put in them.

“I am only doing what the prophet Elisha asked me to do.”

“Elisha?!” My eyes widened. “Is he at your house?”

“No, I went to him and pleaded for help to save my sons from slavery.”

“I’m aware of your situation,” I replied. “As are most people in town, yet this is all your ask for?”

“It is what the man of God told me to do.”

I nodded. I had a lot of respect for Elisha and I wasn’t about to argue with his instructions. “Children. Go get a couple empty jars from your mother.”

They immediately ran to the table where my wife already had two jars waiting. She smiled at me and nodded in agreement. When I took the jars from my children, I noticed they were the jars my wife’s mother made for her. I glanced at her, unsure whether I should give up these special jars. She smiled again and nodded.

“Here you go,” I told the widow as I handed her the jars.

“Thank you,” she replied with tears in her eyes. She handed the jars to her son who held them tightly in an embrace. “I hate to impose, but do you have any more jars you could spare?”

I glanced back at my wife. She reached toward the shelf behind her and grabbed a jar that was given to me by my grandfather. She looked at me and I nodded. “Son, go get that other jar from your mother.”

My son retrieved the jar and I handed it to the widow. “I’m afraid this is all we have to spare.”

“Thank you so much,” she said as she handed the additional jar to her son who carefully added it to his armful of jars.

“May I ask what the prophet intends to do with these jars?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied. “After I pleaded with him to help, he said, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?’ Then I told him I had nothing except

a small jar of olive oil. That’s when he told me, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

I nodded at her as we exchanged a stare. Behind her eyes I saw hope. She revered the Lord like her husband.

“Thank you for the jars,” she said with a slight smile.

“You’re welcome,” I replied.

I began to close the door, but paused as I watched her walk to the next house with her two sons. I admired her faith, her trust that this prophet would work a miracle for her.

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who encounters the widow at his door asking for empty jars based on 2 Kings 4:1-7 (NIV).

© 2019 CGThelen

When I look at the stars at night, I cannot comprehend the vastness of the universe you created dear God. I feel so insignificant gazing at the heavens. I feel like a lone grain of sand on an infinite beach of stars.

Yet I praise you dear God that you don’t see us as insignificant in your eyes. Just as you ordered the universe, you have ordered our lives. I praise you that as believers in Jesus Christ you count us worthy to serve you. That you value us in your kingdom. All praise to you dear God for giving us life. May we bring honor to your name today.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

She was just a poor old widow barely getting by on what little she had. Yet I’d never seen someone with such devotion to God. Despite the trials, despite losing her husband, she did not lose her faith in God. All she had was two small copper coins to her name, but she wanted to show her gratitude to God.

I pleaded with her not to go, to keep the two small coins. I reminded her that the teachers of the law should be taking care of her. It was their duty after she lost her husband. “Why support the temple when it doesn’t support you?” I questioned. She just smiled back at me. She wouldn’t listen to me and proceeded to the temple to give her last two copper coins.

I followed behind her. She was too stubborn to want my help, but I would follow her just in case she needed someone to assist her. Inside the temple court, as she made her way to treasury, I spotted those teachers of the law putting on a show as they deposited large amounts into the treasury. The coins made a large noise. When this widow made her deposit, the two coins were barely audible. I stood a ways back, slipping behind a pillar so she wouldn’t see me as she exited the courtyard. That’s when I saw him standing within earshot of me.

I had heard about this teacher who called himself Jesus. I noticed him watching the woman leaving the courtyard. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

His words amazed me. Such wisdom. I knew she gave all she had in belief that God would provide, but how did he know? It was as if he knew her heart, as if he had listened in on our conversation, as if he knew my thoughts. This widow’s faith, her actions, and now the words of this Jesus pierced me to the core. My heart stirred like never before in my life.

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who witnessed the poor widow contributing to the temple treasury based on Luke 21:1-4 (NIV).

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” – 2 Corinthians 8:12

© 2019 CGThelen

In the midst of late summer, I see the fruits of my labor in my garden. Ripe, red tomatoes, green peppers, and cucumbers all appear on lush green plants. Flowers blossom bright hues of reds, orange, pink and purple. The grass is a blanket of soft green carpet that feels soft under my feet. I can say that all of this is a result of my work, but I know that none of it would be possible without God’s hand.

We are the benefactors of God’s creation. He could have chosen to place us in a stark and sterile world void of color and a variety of plants and animals. Yet he created a world full of color, beauty, and awesome splendor — a world that soothes our troubled souls with the sound of waves lapping the shore, the fresh smell of rain and the vast display of a mountain range. God offers us so much more through life with him, but like Adam and Eve we often opt to pursue selfish desires.

Psalm 147: 8-11 reminds us of who sustains us and this world we live in: “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

If we only look at the world around us through the eyes of our accomplishments and selfish desires, we will miss seeing the true author of life. God’s love for us is evident in the world he has placed us in. His hope and peace can be found in the life and purpose he has given to us.

#ThrowbackThursday – This post originally published June 30, 2015.

© 2015 CGThelen

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