NOT WITHOUT JESUS
by Gary Bell, Discipleship Pastor
In Matthew 8:32 the disciples followed Jesus into a boat, when suddenly and without warning a furious storm came upon them. It was a storm so powerful that it threatened to capsize their tiny craft. It was in that moment that the disciples realized they were Not Without Jesus. Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat, but the disciples woke him, and he quieted the storm.
In John 2:1-11 Mary, Jesus, and the disciples were in attendance at a wedding feast in Cana when it came to Mary’s attention that the family had run out of wine for the guests. Mary knew that such a thing would be a source of great embarrassment for the bride and groom. It was at that moment she realized she was Not Without Jesus. And upon Mary’s request He transformed water into the finest wine.
In Matthew 20:29-34 there were two blind men sitting by the side of the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming they began to shout, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” It was in that moment they knew they were Not Without Jesus. Jesus had compassion on them and gave them their sight.
A few years ago I was in a bank in Stockton, California taking care of some business for my mother when my phone rang. It was the doctor who had recently performed my colonoscopy calling to inform me that my tests came back positive for colon cancer.
I don’t think anyone is ever quite ready to hear the “C” word when it touches the life of a family member, friend, or a loved one; but when that word is leveled at you, time stops for a moment; and like some surreal Tetris game, all the things you thought were so important begin to shift, realign, and disappear until what remains is a collection of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. But just like in Tetris, one last game changing piece dropped down from above and the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was Not Without Jesus.
I remember sitting at the table holding hands with my wife as we prayed, tears filling our eyes as the Holy Spirit reminded us that we were Not Without Jesus.
We sat in the doctor’s office and heard him describe what was at first referred to as a simple polyp now being called a malignant tumor, as the Spirit whispered, Not Without Jesus.
The day of the surgery came; and God’s people gathered—some near, some far, some at the hospital—and all began to pray. I knew whatever the outcome I was Not Without Jesus.
Five days later as I lay in recovery the doctor came in with a written report, stating they had tested three times the normal amount of lymph nodes associated with this type of cancer, and it all came back 100% cancer free. I held the report in my hands, but the only words I could read were Not Without Jesus.
As I write this account, it serves to remind me, as I hope it does you, that whatever moment we find ourselves in, whatever situation in life threatens us, whether big or small, we must always remember we are Not Without Jesus.
PRAYER & REFLECTION:
How do the following verses remind us that we are Not Without Jesus?
- “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
- “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28)
What difficult times in your life did you know that you were “Not Without Jesus”?