December 29, 2020 Daily Devotion

The Bible reading for today is John 21: 20 – 25, ESV.

“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’ So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this man was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

For today, we could focus on Jesus seeming to tell Peter to “mind his own beeswax.” Or, we could focus on why John chose to include Jesus’ words to Peter, given that he goes on to say that Jesus did many, many things that are not even recorded. We could even focus on why John refers to himself as “the disciple who Jesus loved.”

But for today, I want to focus on the last sentence John included in his gospel message. He says Jesus did so many things that if they were recorded in writing, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” That is a big and beautiful thought. In pondering that, I am prompted to remember that Jesus still does miracles today. Did you happen to see “Breakthrough,” the story of John Smith who fell through the ice right here in Lake St. Louis? I googled “Modern Day Miracles,” and found so many. There was a story of a man who was shot twice, but the bullets went into his Bible, and he was not killed or even seriously injured. I once attended a conference given by a Missionary. He said that he was trying to sneak Bibles into a country where Bibles were illegal. As they went through customs, where they could have been arrested, the officers’ attention was momentarily diverted, and they were able to get their Bibles in without difficulty.

In the ICU where I work as a Physical Therapist, we have a patient with Covid pneumonia (actually, we have many). One day he was working well with me in therapy, the next he was intubated. The next morning, as I sat reviewing charts nearby, they called a Code Blue on him three times. His family was invited in (which is always a bad sign in these times during which limited or no visitors are allowed). His mom was wheeled in to see him, and I watched her cry. This patient spent the next two and a half weeks pharmaceutically paralyzed on a ventilator (so his own efforts to breathe would not hamper the ventilator). Then, they let him wake up. He has a very long road ahead, but prayerfully, he is headed to rehab soon.

I had a step-grandma named Hazel. She led me to Jesus. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease when she was in her mid-60s. She and my grandpa lived in AZ and we could not visit often. With each visit, we watched her leave us. Just after her diagnosis, she joined us for a meal. She listened to our son pray and she cried. To me, this meant she knew that something very near and dear to her, her faith, was being shared with her great grandchildren. On our next visit, she was still living at home with Grandpa, but her deficits were becoming obvious as she had to be directed to complete simple tasks of daily living. As we drove off from that visit, I looked in the back seat and saw all 3 kids sitting with tears streaming down their faces. They knew. They were saying good bye to the grandma they loved. Eighteen months later, we returned. Grandma was in a nursing home. She saw my husband, Skip, and said “Ah, the good

one.” She could still perceive character. We went for ice cream. Most of Grandma’s speech was nonsensical, but she could still sing at least 4 verses to multiple familiar hymns. So, we sang.

Not too long after that visit, Grandpa moved Grandma to a private home run by a kind soul who dedicated her life to caring for those with end-stage dementia. Grandma deteriorated to the point that she did not consistently recognize loved ones. Her speech was down to a simple “yes” or “no,” and even those words weren’t consistently used appropriately. Our next visit to AZ was for a “Celebration of Life” for Grandma. Here is a story told by a staff member from the home where Grandma died:

Hazel barely talked at all. But on one night, she clearly said, “the angels are here.” On that night, a man died. The man’s wife was at the very same facility. Several weeks later, Hazel said, “they’re here again.” On that night, the wife passed away.

This world is a hard place to be. But thanks be to God, this world is not our home! Grandma would often sing “God is so good, He’s so good to me.” She would include another verse: “Jesus is real, Jesus is real, Jesus is real, He’s so real to me!” I pray He is SO REAL to you and to our world today!

Juli Hampton

Prayer concern: Heavenly Father, help our eyes to be opened to the miracles that still happen around us, and help our hearts to gladly anticipate one day dwelling with You, in our heavenly homes.

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