Events this week seemed especially conflicted and depressing:

  • Ukraine – Threat of invasion with potentially dire consequences.
  • Pandemic – Lots of uncertainly. Is the end in sight? Hard to know.
  • Murders, Carjackings and other violent crimes on the rise.
  • Mother threatens to bring guns loaded escorting her maskless children to school.

Even the commercials are depressing. One after another advocating medicine to fix your problem, restore your health and happiness. Then you hear a long list of side-effects warning of dire consequences, possibly death if you actually take the drug. Sigh!

In my Bible reading today, John the Baptist sent two disciples to Jesus to ask: “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”  (Luke 7)

That’s a fair question, isn’t it? Life is difficult and full of challenges. We hope you are the Messiah, but we’re not sure: “Jesus, are you the Messiah, we long for, pray for and desperately need?”

After this week, I too am tempted to ask: Jesus, are you the Messiah?” Can you provide a ray of hope amidst all our troubles?

Jesus then answers: “Tell what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:22) In other words: “Don’t let the bad news distract you: people healed, lives changed, miracles occurring all around us.”

Terry and Mari, had a scary experience with their son. “He was only ten months old and running temps of over 105. Diagnosed with meningitis.  Tim was in the hospital for 10 days and Mari and I were going nuts until the antibiotics started bringing down the fever. This experience along with last year’s lymphoma cancer scare with our youngest granddaughter clearly reinforce two things. 1) that God does watch over and comforts us during trying times. And 2) God is constantly reinforcing families faced with tragic events with words of encouragement.“

“’It’s going to be alright’ has tremendous impact and makes all the difference in the world. That’s what we needed to hear. And you know what? It did turn out “alright”. Terry and Mari are examples of literally hundreds of testimonies and miracles: people healed, lives changed, miracles happening all around us.

Do you remember the original question? “Jesus, are you the Messiah?” I realize now that a good answer is not just ‘Yes’ but ‘Yes’ with the knowledge that Jesus has proven and continues to prove He is the Messiah because people are healed, lives are changed, and miracles happen.

Al wrote: “I was only ten years old when my mother died. Even though seventy years have passed, it almost seems like yesterday. It takes time to heal your soul. My family was not a church family. I never heard my mother or father talk about God. I only remember going to a Seventh Day Adventist church, which I hated.”

“After fifty-seven years of marriage, we built our retirement home at Lake Anna. We made friends but there were two special people who asked us to come to church several times, but we were weekenders, and the weekends went by fast. One snow-filled weekend, I felt a strong need for God in my life, so we attended church. The rest is history. Our church helped me find God again. I always knew he was there when I needed him, but I guess I really never asked for his help. The people at this church showed us so much love from the very beginning.”

“We recently moved to a retirement community but the love of our church and God remains firmly in our hearts. This church family is a very special group of people, and they will always be our first real church home. We are blessed beyond measure.”

“Are you the Messiah?” Jesus answers: Tell others what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” 

Jesus is the Messiah, and the church is still the best place I know to find the hope and encouragement we all need, especially at times when news is bad.

Just ask Terry and Mari or Al and Lynn. Better yet, share your own story. This week, I encourage you to think about how Jesus has been the Messiah for you and how the church played a significant role in your life. Your story could be just what someone else needs to hear. EM