Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

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 ...


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 ...

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?