Now for Sami’s ramblings about Jesus:
Sometimes you just have to believe that it works, even if you aren’t feeling anything at the moment. I’m talking about faith, having a relationship with the Lord, trusting that Jesus really is there. There is this wonderful story of how the good news of Jesus Christ was brought to non-Jews for the first time after Jesus’ resurrection. A roman military commander, head of a hundred soldiers (called a centurion), was praying one day to God. He was a man who feared God, prayed continuously, and gave money to people in need regularly. His name was Cornelius. On this particular day, an angel appeared to him and said, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). It’s not like this happened everyday, because Cornelius was terrified. As it happened, the angel told Cornelius to send for Peter, the apostle. Once Peter spoke the gospel to him, Cornelius and all his family and friends received the gift of the Holy Spirit and were baptized that day.
What so comforts me about this story is that it tells us where our prayers go—straight to the ears of God. In fact, God saves them as precious treasures. When I picked up Noah for his last day of day care before the Christmas break, his teacher had made an ornament for our tree by tracing Noah’s hand prints and foot print onto brown construction paper to make a moose head. Now I have lots of ornaments, some very fragile and pretty expensive. But none can compare to my construction paper moose. To me it is a precious treasure. This is how every word and thought of prayer and heartfelt good deed we do is to our Heavenly Father. God saves them up like construction paper mooses.
It’s hard to always know these things. It’s why we need scripture, and the encouragement of good Christian friends. And it is also why God said that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We know our prayers are precious to God by faith. In some ways it is like Christmas decorations. Even though I don’t have my Christmas ornaments out year round, they still exist. Even though I don’t see my little moose everyday, I know it is there. Even though we cannot always feel God’s presence, or feel how much He loves us, His presence and His love are very real.
So come on back to school. Start the semester off right: knowing you are loved, your prayers are heard, and your life really does make a difference.