The 16th chapter of Luke’s book is not so gentle a read. It ends with Jesus telling a rich man who refused God that there’d be no need in a miraculous sighting sent to warn his family of Hell. Jesus tells the regretful rich man, they didn’t believe in Moses, it’s likely they may never believe.
“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
Luke 16:31 ESV
I stood holding hands with family yesterday and prayed. I was asked by my cousin to pray.
It felt a little awkward, family can be that way; but, also a sweet answer because I’d actually thought about it, thought about it on the drive to the gathering, what would I pray if I were to bless the food, to pray?
I consider this God. I consider the way this all fell into place truly sweet, a God thing.
I thanked the Lord for the tradition of our get together, for the good things he’s brought us over the past year, the good things he has brought us to and through, and for the food.
As we released our hands, a circle so wide it covered four rooms, intersected by a kitchen and a hall, everyone was quiet and then our Georgia Christmas meal began.
This morning, I’m remembering intercessory prayer. I’m thinking with certainty how God hears our prayers and how I most likely won’t know how my words offered up a little awkwardly will impact my family members.
Somehow and somewhere, they will.
God hears us when we say them, He always hears our prayers.
The rich man lost his opportunity. He ignored the needs of a poor man who inherited heaven as he focused on his wealth.
“And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”
Luke 16:20-23, 25 ESV
I sat last night making lists and making plans, most of them revolving around money and the assurance over the lack of enough of it.
I thought of how I love giving, love listening and then providing, how I more than anything love giving what is perceived as a “way too generous” surprise.
I’ll review my list today, I’ll squeeze in a shopping trip this week, wrap some new boxes and rearrange them under our tree.
I’m hoping my gifts to my family will be an evidence of my faith, of my peace, of my hope and my finally really believing in mercy and grace.
Talking less about it, acting it out more.
As I sit in my spot, I’m remembering my family, the love, laughter, good fortune and misfortune in the room.
Family can be tough. Everybody knows. All coming from the same people and place, all knowing all our stuff and still, loving one another, even if skeptical over the bumps in our roads and how still, we grow.
I’m thankful for them. I believe I told Him and them so.
Thank you, God, that we are all here.
This year, my hope, my purpose is that my family sees more clearly, that they see me being who I say that I am.
That they see, Jesus.
That they see “why I believe”.
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15 ESV