A Note from Colleen
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Nancy Guthrie, the writer of the following devotional, titled “Do You Believe?” Our talk was brief, and her voice was serene. One wouldn’t have expected this, due to the unspeakable suffering she’d experienced in her family. Two of Nancy’s children, Hope and Gabriel, were both born with a rare metabolic disorder called Zellweger Syndrome—a painful, terminal, and untreatable disease. After Hope was born, she lived less than six months. About three years later, Gabe was born, and he lived a mere 183 days. Through it all, Nancy resolved to believe in the sovereignty of our Lord. Such perseverance rested upon the unshakable foundation of faith.
It is often difficult for us to accept, but life on earth is terminal for everyone. As with Hope and Gabriel, there is no treatment to reverse this truth. How do you face such a stark reality? Today, what are you choosing to believe? Perhaps Nancy’s words will inspire you to choose to believe, as she did, in the goodness and sovereignty of God.
Do You Believe?
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?” —John 11:23–26
Jesus often asked penetrating questions. He asked the man by the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to get well?” He asked the woman caught in adultery, “Where are your accusers?” He asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” And he asked Martha, “Do you believe?”
The questions Jesus asks echo through the ages, gently but firmly requiring an answer from each of us. They are penetrating and personal and, most important, purposeful. His purpose in asking Martha if she believed was to move her from a vague belief in a resurrection to a firm confidence that he is the Resurrection, her only hope.
Martha, in the midst of her grief and despair, affirmed her belief, saying, “Yes, Lord . . . I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God” (John 11:27). Jesus shifted her focus from her suffering to her Savior. His words of resurrection can do the same for you and me, depending on how we answer his question, “Do you believe?” But before we can answer it, perhaps we need a clearer understanding of what it means to believe. Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). So what does it mean to believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead? It can’t be merely a mental assent to this historical fact, because the Bible says even Satan acknowledges that. Believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead means trusting in all the promises it represents: newness of life, hope for the future, and the power for living. It means being so confident in God’s power and love that nothing can tempt you to trust in a lesser savior. This is resting in his resurrection, believing in it in a saving way. To believe is to leave your cynicism behind and enter into the resurrected Jesus as the very atmosphere in which you live, where he becomes your treasure, your satisfaction, your life.
Resurrected Jesus, I believe; help my unbelief. Work this belief from my head into the recesses of my heart. Shift my focus from my suffering to my Savior.
How does Jesus’ identification of himself as the resurrection and the life echo what he said in John 5:24–30?