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BLESSINGS WITH BURDENS

The Upper Room Devotion for Monday January 8, 2024, was written by Margaret Foegen Karsten of Wisconsin.


 

Scripture

32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

John 11:32-44 NRSV

 

Author's Thoughts

At age 22, our son, John, who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, had surgery to insert feeding tubes. Loss of muscles, including those that control swallowing, created a condition that contributed to frequent pneumonia. John had also lost wight. Two months after the surgery, with Thanksgiving approaching, I felt despondent because John could no longer join in family meals with us.

The scripture reading at church about Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead took on a new meaning. However, instead of lamenting that John couldn't eat, I thanked God that he was alive. How wonderful that God gave people the knowledge and skill to put all nutrients needed to sustain human life in a can! John could not enjoy family meals as he once had, but he could laugh, talk, play games, defend his views, give advice, tell jokes, and watch his favorite football team. Although the ingenuity underlying tube-feeding that restored his life differed markedly from Christ's miraculous raising of Lazarus, it allowed John to be with us for 11 more years and live to see his younger sisters become adults.

 

Thought for the Day

Hidden blessings can be found in heavy burdens.

 

Author's Prayer

Dear God, thank you for helping us see how you can use even heavy burdens to restore life. Help us live one day at a time, trusting you to provide for us. In Jesus' name. Amen.



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