I have received my fair share of bad reports… okay, maybe more than a fair share of bad reports… over the last ten years as my wife and I have walked this journey over the battle for her health. I have sat in doctor’s offices in three different states and listened to medical professionals tell me everything that is wrong with my wife's health and explain how there is no medical cure for her. And although they try to keep a neutral look on their faces, I can see the hopelessness in their eyes as well as with their entire staff each and every time we walk out of their offices.
I have endured that same look at every federal, state or county benefits office that we have been to on both the west and east coasts. I see it almost everyday in the eyes of the people we pass at the stores we frequent, with our neighbors, and although they are always outgoing, smiling and positive, in the hospice team that comes multiple times a week to care for and medically check up on Piper. I have even sat through family gatherings that felt more like a visit to the mortuary than they did a holiday celebration.
So, without really having to explain, one can see how the most uplifting parts of my day are when I read and study God’s Word and fellowship with Him. Whether it be through the pages of my Bible, the multiplicity of Christian teaching books we are reading, TV ministers, confession sheets, conversations with other Christians or in prayer and praise, I find that I look forward with great anticipation, excitement and expectation for the healing balm, joy, encouragement and faith building that I receive through the truth and power of His Word.
After rebuking an evil spirit in a man at the synagogue in Capernaum, Mark recalled in Mark 1:27 that the people present that day “were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” (KJV)
I can relate to the way those folks must have felt that day, not that I find myself asking “what thing is this” when I read the Word because I know what it is. But I do find myself being more and more amazed as Papa God continues to reveal new depths of understanding to the truth of His Word that I/we may be reading at any particular time throughout the day!
Since the beginning of the new year I have felt led to write “We are being AMAZED in 2018!” each day at the top of the page of my personal Bible Study notes. Then I’ll jot down Luke 2:18 where we are told that “Everyone who heard the shepherd’s story (ie; the beginning of the Gospel message told by the angels when Jesus was born) was AMAZED!” (God’s Word ©) Those words work to quickly renew the sense of expectation and amazement in me for the miraculous things our heavenly Father has planned for us for that new day!
Wuest’s Word Studies gives interesting insight into the word “amazed” in Mark 1:27 and “astonishment” in verse 22. He explains that the Greek for “amazed” is:
“thambeō "to be astonished, amazed, to be terrified, to be frightened." Their amazement was mingled with fright and terror. Mark uses ekplēssō for 'astonishment' in verse 22, which means 'to be struck with astonishment to the place of panic and loss of self-possession.' These two words are graphic in their description of the reaction of the synagogue crowd to the impact of Jesus, His teaching, and the miracle He performed.”
I believe that he is telling us that the people in the church listening to the words of Jesus were physically, mentally and most importantly, spiritually moved that day. Dictionary.com defines the action of being “amazed” as “to fill with sudden and over powering surprise or wonder.” Can’t you just see that happening to the people when you read the entire story in Mark 1: 21-28? That’s the same thing I look forward to feeling every morning as I get up and face another day within the realm of the situation that Piper and I are now living in. What about each of YOU?
Right smack-dab-in-the-middle of all the hopelessness that I face on a daily basis, I find the Word of God to be the uplifting and faith-generating source of life for me. I’ve grown to be expectant of the AMAZEMENT it brings to Piper’s and my life! I noticed the other day that I find myself stopping regularly throughout the day and saying, “OH!” when I hear various new revelations from the Word while reading, talking about or listening to the Word being taught.
I had a terrific, faith stimulating conversation with the Chaplin from our hospice team on Monday. I found myself on numerous occasions during our fellowship together saying; “Oh! I hadn’t seen or thought about that, like that before!” Then awhile after he left I pulled out a book entitled “In His Presence” by E.W. Kenyon that I’ve been reading to Piper and had to stop on multiple occasions expressing pause and wonderment over something the author wrote and declared to Piper, “Whoa! Did you hear that?”
And later in the evening just before I started to help Piper get ready for bed, we were watching a teaching by Pastor Creflo Dollar on grace when I suddenly jumped off the couch at something he said and proclaimed “Wow… Did you hear what he just said? That’s why so-and-so reacted the way that they did in that situation…”
So, like I said, I now find myself being AMAZED with God and His Word throughout the day and night. In my wife’s and my current situation in life, I find that God’s Word and the joy, peace, strength, love, grace and faith that we received from it is the very lifeline of our existence!
With all the hopelessness we encounter on a regular basis, His Word is the breath of fresh air that cleanses and refreshes our vision that the Word gives us. It helps me to see our surroundings through the eyes of faith instead of the hopelessness that the world displays 24/7! How about you? Are you ready to be amazed?
Have a great and encouraging rest of the week! And as you do, keep asking yourself… “When was the last time that I was expecting to have an “OH!” moment in my daily life?”