Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Can Life Be More than This?

Hi Friends,


I'm working hard (all prayers very much appreciated!) on my new book, Reaching for Wonder. This week, I'm hoping to finish the chapter on the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus by the well of her ancestor, Jacob. Below is the longing of my heart as I read her story. Maybe it's your longing too? In Christ can there be more than, "Is it what it is"?  Pray for me, please, as I delve deeper into the wonder of this story that is resonating inside me this week!

Here's an except from my work-in-progress ...

“Come and see a man who has told me everything I’ve done!”
John 4:4-42

         It is what it is. I’ve said the phrase many times, but never with hope. Never with joy. It is an expression of deep resignation. Sometimes, it’s a saying that secretly breaks my heart.
         Does it always have to be this way? Is it really too late? Is the life I have all that life will ever become? Are my pain, my shame, iron bars of a prison cell? Or perhaps, in the hands of the Messiah, might they be the strange keys to escape?
         I bring my helplessness, my hopelessness, to the well with the Samaritan woman. I search for a thirsty man sitting by its side. I come with bucket empty and heart not daring to hope. But I come. I listen.
         I encounter my Christ in the story of another woman whose heart beat like mine, whose doubts and fears and shame had made her believe that life could never be anything more.

         And I wonder … will this stranger by Jacob’s well free me too?  Will he see me for who I truly am and still make me whole? Can my life be more than it is what it is?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Facing the Impossible? Consider this ...

Hi Friends,


For all those facing the impossible today, here's a bit of truth, a bit of hope:

Excerpt from Waiting for Wonder:

Our God is the God of the impossible. He is the God of impossible promises.
            This is the God who said to a virgin through the angel Gabriel, “Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31), and Mary conceived a son without ever having been with a man. Jesus was born.
            This is the God who provided a boatload of fish after a night when not a single one was caught (Luke 5; John 21), who calmed the storm when the disciples were certain they would drown (Mark 4), who healed a man born blind when no one had ever heard of that (John 9), who healed the incurable and drove out demons (Matt 8; Luke 17), who raised the dead (Mark 5; Luke 7; John 11).
            This is the God who promised he would “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and the legal experts, and be killed, and then, after three days, rise from the dead” (Mark 8:31) And he did.
            He rose! He rose from the dead to defeat death. He rose so that every other impossible promise could come true. He rose and now nothing else can ever be impossible. Now we can live in these impossible promises:

·      I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age. (Matt 28:20)
·      I will never leave you or abandon you. (Heb 13:5)
·      The one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)
·      My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:30)
·      Whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life. (John 14:4)
·      Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. (Matt 7:7)
·      When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. (John 14:3)
·      And all who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms because of my name will receive one hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. (Matt 19:29)
·      God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)
·      I assure you, whoever believes has eternal life. (John 6:47)
           
And so many, many more.
            Go ahead and laugh. It’s okay. But it’s even better to step out of your tent and go to him with your doubts, your discouragement, your fear of being disappointed yet again.
            Come, and believe this God of the impossible.

Jesus looked at them carefully and said,
“It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.”

Matthew 19:26

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hope for the Waiting Place

Hi Friends,


Today I wanted to share an except from Waiting for Wonder for anyone who finds themselves in the Waiting Place. When it seems as if nothing is changing despite prayer; when life seems stuck in a painful place, when it feels like God is absent and silent ...

EXCERPT:

There is something about waiting with our God. He is the God of waiting. Waiting is hard, but somehow it’s what God asks of us.
            Daniel and the exiles in Babylon were promised they would return to the land of Israel. They waited seven decades. A lifetime. In Babylon, Daniel served four foreign kings who believed themselves equal with God. His friends were thrown into the fire; he was thrown into a den of lions. He remained in exile. Daniel learned to wait.
            Mary received the promise about her son from the lips of an angel. It took over thirty years for that son even to begin his public ministry. All that time she waited with the promises of an angel still unfulfilled. Waited, while nothing happened. No Roman overthrow, no popularity, no growing force. Even his ministry looked nothing like what she may have expected. Mary learned to wait.
            Jesus’ followers received the promise of his return. They expected him to come in their lifetimes. But even through persecution, Roman arenas, and the stoning of saints, Jesus did not return. They died waiting for his promise to be fulfilled. We still wait.
            We wait decades, centuries, millennia.
            Because for our God, time is not a constraint. This is the God about whom the psalmist said, “In your perspective a thousand years are like yesterday past, like a short period during the night watch” (Ps 90:4) and Peter wrote, “Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day” (2 Pet 3:8). 
            He is the God of the wait. He is the God who calls us to wait in faith. He says to us:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7)
It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:26)

            When hope seems gone. When ten years have passed in Canaan and there is no promised son. When the cold, empty chill of desperation becomes a heavy weight in your gut, remember that time is God’s servant. He holds it in his hands.

The Lord is waiting to be merciful to you,
    and will rise up to show you compassion.
The Lord is a God of justice;
    happy are all who wait for him.
Isaiah 30:18

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Christ Offers More Than Healing...

Hi Friends,

I'm working on my next book, Reaching for Wonder, and wanted to share this little bit with you to encourage you when you're facing doubts, or fear that God may not hear and act.

This is from the chapter about the leper who comes to Jesus and says:

“If you want, you can make me clean.”
Mark 1:40-45


And Jesus answers him ...

EXCERPT
In the face of doubt and fear, Jesus speaks not a condemnation, but instead two simple words (in the Greek) that dispel both doubt and fear. This first is, when translated, “I am willing.” And the second is, “Be cleansed.”
         When we are at our lowest, when faith fails, when it hurts to try to hope anymore, God’s answer to us is not disappointment or guilt or shame. His answer is, “I am willing.”  He is willing to make us whole. He loves us enough to not just heal, but to make clean.
         I love the deeper meaning of the word “to cleanse” in the Greek. It not only means to cure a person from an “unclean” disease, but it also means to free from faults, to free from the doubt we see in “if.” It means to consecrate, to dedicate, to make complete for God’s use.
         That is what Jesus intends to offer us. Not simply a cure for the external need, but a deep soul cleansing that takes our “if” and transforms it into wonder.

         He is willing. The question is, are we?