The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, September 14, 2022, comes to us from Lea Anne Foster of Virginia.
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." 28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 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!"
28 For "In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "For we too are his offspring.'
Acts 17:28 NRSV
RUNNING WITH JESUS
I felt numb in the weeks following my fifty-year-old brother’s death. My Daily devotional time devolved into daydreaming. Procrastination replaced time set aside for prayer. Tears came easier than praise. I was frozen, mourning my brother who spent his life in perpetual motion. He embodied Acts 17:28 by living, moving, and being in the presence of the Lord. He began walking at eight months, mastered any sport he attempted, gave full-body bear hugs, kneeled when he prayed, and clapped to praise songs. My brother, who used his athleticism and his body to glorify God, was gone. I felt alone and unmoored.
My usual ways of connecting with God felt hollow. Then God led me to take a page from my brother’s life in order to cope with his death. I needed to interact with God using my body, mind, and spirit. I started a running regimen. Some runs were filled with intercessory prayers for our parents and brother’s children. Some runs were spent peppering God with questions about my brother’s too-short life. As I ran, I became aware of my rhythmic footsteps and God’s air in my lungs as a healing balm for my spirit. Mile after mile, I experienced God’s presence and understanding. And just as Jesus loved and wept for his friends, he wept with me and gave me peace as we ran the miles together.
The sudden or unexpected loss of a loved one can leave us breathless and aimless. Grief can often lead us to distance ourselves from the comfort God wants to provide for us. Many of the activities and disciplines we formerly used to connect with God often feel shallow. Lea’s reflection reminds us that when we cannot connect with God in our usual manner, it may be time to adopt a new method for interacting with God. Whether running like Lea, meditation, or lawn work, finding a space where we can quiet our anxious thoughts so we can hear from God is invaluable.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us and for your promise of life eternal. Amen
-- Lea Anne Foster
Someone seeking to reconnect with God.
Thought for the day:
God is with me every step of my way.