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Rest and Surrender

Jesus stopped and called them.

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

Matthew 20:32

I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like reading. I don’t feel like talking or doing much of anything—even cooking, which I normally love to do. Yet even though my energy is depleted, I keep trying to push through.

This morning I tested positive for Covid for the eighth day in a row. It’s the first time I’ve experienced this virus, which may have something to do with why it’s hitting me so hard. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and taking Sudafed, but resting is difficult. I don’t do it well. Therefore, I’ve been calling out to Jesus for quick healing, which worked well for a blind man.

When Jesus passed a blind man sitting by the road to Jericho, the man called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38) Jesus responded by asking the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41) The man knew his answer. He told Jesus that he wanted his sight, and Jesus healed him.

Unfortunately, I think God’s answer for me is closer to Paul’s who pleaded with Jesus to remove the thorn from his side. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

Truly, God has been showing me just how weak I am and just how much I need Him. My own strength and my abilities to control the things around me have been waining lately.

In addition to having Covid, our water heater decided to go on the blink. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In just the last week alone, both my husband and I have experienced what it feels like to be lathered in soap when the hot water stops running. The repairman came yesterday but apparently, he didn’t fix the problem because there was no hot water again this morning.

Nonetheless, I decided to wash the sheets. (After all, you don’t need hot water for laundry, and there’s nothing like a clean set of sheets when you’re sick!) But halfway through the cycle, the washing machine decided to go on the blink. (Yes, I’m serious.) Instead of draining properly, the sheets are now sitting in a big tub of cold, gray water. This is what my husband the engineer will have to look forward to when he gets home from work.

I feel like my patience is being tested, and I’ve been thinking about how I would answer Jesus if he asked me now, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Would I say, “Get me out of quarantine,” or “Make the hot water heater work,” or “Fix the washing machine”?

Probably not.

At this moment in time, I’d be more apt to ask for world peace, an end to human trafficking, or for Jesus’ return. But I think Jesus would respond to any one of those requests in the same manner he responded to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, when they asked for the seats of honor—one on Jesus’ right and the other on his left—when he came into glory. Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you are asking” (Mark 10: 38).

The question “What do you want?” must be important because Jesus asked it multiple times: of two blind men (Matthew 20:32), of Andrew and John (John 1:38), and of an invalid (John 5:6). But that same question was also asked of Jesus. An impure spirit in a synagogue in Capernaum asked, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” (Mark 1:24), and a man filled with demons in the region of Gerasenes asked, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Luke 8:28).

Upon reflection, in these moments of weakness when life is not going my way, when the hot water isn’t running, and the washing machine has stopped working, perhaps the question and the answer need to be the same. When Jesus asks me, “What do you want?” I need to answer, “What do you want with me?”

I can’t say for sure how Jesus would respond, but I think it may have something to do with rest and surrender. So, if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know why.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND is What You Want by Tenth Avenue North.

Favorite lyric: "You're changing my heart to want what you want.”

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