The Faith of the Centurion

Luke 7:11-17
Some of the most powerful and moving things Jesus said were connected with grief and loss.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. (Matt. 5:4).  When faced with the grief of Mary and Martha, John informs us that “Jesus wept”.  
How moving it must have been to see Jesus, himself the Resurrection and the Life, weep freely and openly (John 11:35).  We meet the same heartfelt and profoundly compassionate response in today’s encounter with the widow: “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and she said, 'Don’t cry’ “ (v. 13 NIV).  His reaction teaches ius that Gpd’s heart is full of kindness and compassion for the human condition and predicament.
Grief strips us bare, but God is close to all those who have suffered loss, who are broken-hearted and grief-stricken.
Lord, your kindness, mercy and compassion are deeper thant the ocean, wider than the sea and extend from heaven to earth.
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Doubt

Faith in God and acceptance of Jesus is often reached through a process which involves questions, struggles and difficulties.  Indeed, there can be a way in which, as St Augustine said, doubt and unbelief are really no more than fear dressed up: "For I keep my heart from assenting anything, fearing to fall headlong; but hanging in suspense I was worse killed."

Doubt can be the gateway to faith.  In his poem Bishop Blougram's Apology Robert Browning wrote, "The more of doubt, the stronger faith, I say, if faith o'ercomes doubt".

Lord Jesus, when like Thomas I am tempted to doubt, help me to repent and turn away from the darkness and to embrace the light of your truth, saying in my heart, "My Lord and my God".

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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