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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

A Lesson From Lazarus

"Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
- John 11:40 NIV

Years ago, a mother duck made her nest on our back porch. Shortly after laying a dozen eggs, she abandoned her nest. After much prayer and thought, my family and I brought several eggs into our home and tried to incubate them. We rejoiced when one of them hatched and introduced us to a fluffy little duckling that we named Samson. "Sammy," as we nicknamed him, became the darling of our family, and we showered him with loving attention. When another egg began to show signs of hatching the following day, we gathered around it in joyful anticipation. But our joy quickly faded into sadness and disappointment when what appeared to be a disfigured and lifeless form emerged from its shell. As members of my family began to shake their heads and leave the room, I stood weeping over the pitiful little creature. Somehow, I felt like a failure, and waves of despair washed over me from head to toe.

The next thing I knew, the Holy Spirit was convicting me for all the times I had encouraged other believers to ask God for the impossible. I felt ashamed for giving up so easily. It was then that I remembered how God changed Abram's name to Abraham ("Father of Many") BEFORE he had his son, Isaac. (Genesis 17:5) I told the Lord that I would name Sammy's new sibling "Lazarus" to demonstrate my faith in His raising up our sickly little friend. After I prayed earnestly for his health and well-being, I began holding the newborn duckling in my hand, whispering words of love and life to him. I sat up with him most of the night, and when I woke up the following morning, I found Lazarus very much alive and chirping with delight. This precious little duckling brightened the lives of my entire family, along with his brother, Sammy. And every time we called his name, we were reminded of how God honored our faith in Him and His miracle-working power.

It amazes me how the Lord can use almost anything to teach us about faith. My experience with Lazarus showed me how wrong it can be for us to give up on people and situations that appear to be hopeless. God is well able to breathe new life into dead circumstances and lives. And often He proves His willingness to do so when we ask Him in faith. The Lord recently led me to make a list which I call my "Nothing List." It's composed of three Scriptures which God has used many times to help me believe Him for the impossible: "Nothing can hinder the Lord." (1 Samuel 14:6) "Nothing is too difficult for Him." (Jeremiah 32:27) "Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) Whenever I encounter "hopeless" situations, I meditate on these verses, and they help me to pray and stand in faith for God to manifest His miracle-working power.

The Gospel of John records that just before Jesus raised up His friend, Lazarus, He turned to Martha, his sister, and asked: "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40) I heard the Lord speak those very words to my spirit while I was weeping over my sickly little duckling. And for the rest of that night, I repeated over and over, "I believe I will see the glory of God." My faith wasn't perfect. Part of me still doubted. But as I spoke those words again and again, my spirit rose up to lay hold of a miracle that my head would never comprehend. What "hopeless" circumstances and people are in your life right now that you've been tempted to give up on? Perhaps the Savior is saying to you today, "Don't be afraid; just believe." (Mark 5:36 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, use the things and people in my life to teach me valuable lessons about faith. Show me which "hopeless" circumstances and people are in my life right now that I'm tempted to give up on too soon. Help me to fill my mouth and my heart with praise and promises from Your Word that will build my faith and help me to believe You for the miraculous. Thank You that as I believe, I will see the glory of God!

- J. M. Farro


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