Praying Through Mark

March 21, 2014
Mark 3: 20-30

Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Ever since that moment, we have struggled with the distinction between right and wrong.

Part of our struggle lies in our ability to recognize evil when it appears. An older seminary professor of mine used to quote a professor of his from a previous generation who once said, “The devil doesn’t always appear in a red suit with a pitch fork. Sometimes he shows up as a short skirt and a bottle of Channel No. 5” – an analogy he readily admitted was both dated and sexist.

But equally challenging is our ability to recognize good when it appears. Jesus showed up casting out demons and healing the sick, and the religious leaders accused him of doing it by the power of Satan. Their imaginations were so captive to their preconceived ideas of what God should look like that they were incapable of recognizing Him when He actually showed up in their midst.

In our modern world we’ve grown suspicious about talk of demons. Such ideas sound too primitive for us. But that unwillingness to recognize the spiritual forces at work in our world only further contributes to our ongoing struggle to recognize the hand of God when He acts. We are no less captive in the battle between good and evil than were the Pharisees or Adam and Eve.

A friend received wonderful news yesterday. Despite some peculiar symptoms and the looming fear that His cancer had returned he learned that he is 100% cancer free! How did that happen? Is it merely good luck? Is it only the result of a well-functioning health care system? Or is it evidence of an all-powerful God who refuses to abandon us to our own resources?

The way we answer such questions has everything do with our ability to see God at work. Every day – this very day – we are surrounded by indications of His goodness working through our lives. He won’t heal every cancer, but He will triumph over the spiritual forces of evil.

The greatest mistake we could ever make is to miss it when it happens.

Holy God, open my eyes today to the goodness that your are revealing. I confess that my mind is so captivated by my expectations that I often fail to see you when you come. I trust that even in this world of sin and brokenness and tragedy you are working to make your kingdom visible to me. Give me the eyes to see it. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

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