“I’m fine.” How often do we reply with that phrase when someone asks how we’re doing? No matter how “not fine” we really are, it’s hard to let others in and share the real struggles we’re facing. What if the person who’s asking is a close friend, someone who really cares about you? Are you keeping your needs from those who care and could help?
Are you keeping your needs from God?Are you answering God with “I’m fine” in your prayers or are you opening up and asking Him for help?
Our study today is the story of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus came to Peter’s house after attending synagogue with Peter, his brother Andrew and their fishing buddies James and John. As they walked into the house, they learned Simon’s mother-in-law was very ill with a high fever.
Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. (Luke 4:38-39 NIV)
Did they play the role of good hosts and try to hide their troubles from Jesus? Carry on with the dinner as if nothing was the matter? No! They knew they had Jesus in their midst, so they asked him for help!
This was still early in Jesus’ ministry, but they’d already witnessed him working miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons. They knew Jesus had the power to heal Peter’s mother-in-law, so they knew they should ask. Maybe Jesus would work a miracle for them, too?
We see three keys in this passage to help us through those difficult times when we’re “not fine.” Three keys to developing the kind of faith and relationship with Jesus that can sustain us and carry us through whatever change life brings our way.
Key #1: Know Jesus
Stay grounded in scripture and in relationship with Jesus.
These men were studying with Jesus and following him. They knew he had the power to heal. While we don’t have the same opportunity to knew Jesus in the flesh as they did, we do have scripture to help us get to know Jesus better and develop a similar relationship with him.
Key #2: Prayer
Include God in your conversations and ask Him for help.
Jesus didn’t storm through the front door and seek out Peter’s mother-in-law to heal her. No, the disciples first asked him for help. Jesus was right there, ready and available to help, but he wanted them to ask first. We ask for help through prayer. Prayer is our conversation with God to share our lives – the joys and the struggles – and to ask for help.
Key #3: Community
Build community with other Christians for learning, support and accountability.
Jesus was in their home because they were experiencing faith as a community. They had gone to synagogue together and were going back for a time of fellowship and study. Jesus was in their midst as part of that community. Within community, they could ask for help for each other and then be there to provide support. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20 NIV)
I’m reminded of this great Wayne Gretzky quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Couldn’t we also say the same about prayer?
You miss 100% of the miracles you don’t pray for.
Will you open up and go beyond “I’m fine” with God? With your friends and family? It’s more than okay to ask for help, it’s necessary and how God designed us to live together. Go ahead, open your heart to God, share your burdens, and ask Him for that miracle. Not every prayer will receive a miracle and not every prayer will be answered the way you ask, but prayer opens the door to a closer relationship with God and the opportunity for Him to work through your life.
Read the story of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law for yourself: Luke 4:38-39.
Reflect on the questions below:
- What does this passage tell you about Jesus?
- How does this passage speak to you as you face changes in your own life?
- What concerns in your life do you need to start a conversation with God about?
If you want to dig deeper into the life and lessons of Peter, I highly recommend two books:
“A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter”, by Michael Card and “The Fisherman: A Novel”, by Larry Huntsperger
This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview