Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When You Feel Helpless...

Hi Friends,


I've been pondering this excerpt from the chapter about the paralyzed man who was lowered from roof from Reaching for Wonder. If you're feeling like you just can't go on, you can't get yourself to Jesus, like it's all too much and your overwhelmed, maybe this will help ...

Excerpt:

Helplessness. A child . . . A spouse . . . A boss . . . An incurable disease . . . there are places in life where we are paralyzed. They make us doubt our worth, they make us doubt our friends, our future, our God. We want to either wallow in our pain or snap our fingers and make it better. But sometimes “you can do anything you set your mind to” isn’t true. Sometimes we are helpless. And helplessness hurts.
         Yet the man on the mat tells us that at times silence and stillness are just the conditions that Jesus needs to make us whole. 
         I am reminded of the day I found Smokey, my husband’s horse, standing still and silent in his stall. Smokey is never still and silent. 
         My daughter, Bethany, came into the barn. “What wrong with Smokey?” 
         Smokey stared at us from behind his feeding net. We stepped closer. He didn’t wiggle. He didn’t whinny. 
         Bethany moved toward him. “Oh, no.” She glanced at me. “His hoof is caught in the net. He can’t get it out.” She slipped slowly into his stall, hoping not to spook him. She took his hoof in her hand. “The fabric is wedged between his hoof and his shoe. I can’t pull it out. If he starts to panic, he’ll break his leg.”
         “Okay, you keep him calm. I’ll find something to cut the net.”
         For the next twenty minutes, we sawed and soothed and cut and calmed until Smokey was finally free. He couldn’t move, he didn’t speak, and he couldn’t help himself. He just stayed still and let us work. Sometimes, in our fear, in our helplessness, that’s all we have to do too. Sometimes God is whispering into our silence: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, KJV)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fight the Right Fight - Lessons from Roosters

Hi Friends,


I'm tired. Tired of bickering, in-fighting, griping, and conflict between people who all really want the same thing. Good people, fighting common enemies of despair, injustice, hurt, discouragement, hopelessness.

Time to learn a lesson from my two roosters.

It happened like this:

 “Mom!”
I knew by the intensity of the shriek that something was very wrong. My six-year-old never screamed like that. She came bursting through my office door. “Mom! Help! Come quick!”
I leapt from my chair. “What’s wrong?”
She started to sob as she spoke. “The dogs are in the chicken coop. I couldn’t get them out.”
I ran for the door. She ran after me. 
“They pushed past me when I went in. I couldn’t get them out. Hurry!”
I was hurrying. I was sprinting out the front door, up the driveway, back toward the coop.
“Moooommmmmyyyy! They’re going to kill all the chickens!” 
Probably.
But I wouldn’t say that out loud. Instead, I just ran as fast as I could.
When I reached the coop, I burst inside. The hens were squawking high up in the coop while our white rooster flapped his wings at the two dogs and the red rooster lay, motionless, on the coop floor.
The two little dogs barked ferociously at the red rooster.
Oh no.Buffalo, the red rooster, was the favorite of all the kids.
I grabbed the two dogs and tossed them from the coop. They wagged their tails and scratched at the door to get back in. I ignored them.
Instead I knelt beside Buffalo, fearing the worst.
But he was still breathing. I helped him to his feet.
He shook himself and blinked at me. His entire, glorious tail had been pulled out and now I noticed feathers scattered around the coop. He had a few bare spots on his wings, but there wasn’t a bite mark on him. 
My daughter sidled up next to me. “Is he going to be all right?”
“I think so. Go get the wound spray from the barn. I’m going to spray him where his tail got pulled out.”
Jordyn brought me the spray and Buffalo held still while I tended to his bare back end. Then he fluttered up to his perch and checked on his hens. The white rooster turned around on his perch and I noticed that he, too, was missing much of his tail. I sprayed him too, checked the hens, then sat on the hay. 
The roosters stared at me. I stared back at them. “You’re war heroes, you know,” I told them. “You fought the battle so the hens could get away.”
They fluttered their wings, off balance without their large tails.
I smiled at them. Sometimes the roosters squabble with each other. Sometimes they peck the backs of the hens. But when the real enemy threatened their hens, the roosters worked together to protect the flock. 
That’s how we need to be too. In the church, in our families, in our circles of friends, we need to recognize that the enemy is not each other. There’s real enemy whose goal is our destruction, our death. 
Sometimes we’re too busy squabbling with each other to protect against the real threat. Sometimes we’re too busy pecking at those God has given us to protect. Paul says in Galatians 5:14-16 (NIV), “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
The roosters may occasionally be disgruntled with one another, but they don’t bite and devour each other. And when the real enemy sneaks into their coop, they band together to protect the hens. They know who the enemy really is.
And as I sat there, bemoaning the loss of Buffalo’s stunning tail (and most of Parmesan’s beautiful white tail), I started to see that losing a tail, even a gorgeous one like Buffalo’s, isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
God calls us to protect the weak, stand up for what’s right, lay down our lives, our tails, for others. He doesn’t call us to bicker and nitpick and peck at the very ones who we are called to protect. He doesn’t call us to bite and devour each other.
He calls us to fight the real enemy, the one who wants to destroy our souls. Together, just like Buffalo and Parmesan, we can defeat every dog who crashes our coop. Together, God gives us the strength to love others enough to sacrifice our tails so they can find a high place of safety.
Together, we can be who God created us to be, even if some feathers get pulled out in the process. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Scary Evening in the ER: The Tension between Fear & Faith

Hi Friends,

Well, we had a super scary evening yesterday. Bria took her new horse to the round pen but before he got there, he freaked out, pushed her over, and trampled her as he ran off. Eek! And I got to put my own preaching into practice - yikes!

Scared, worried, wondering, not knowing how bad it was or what would happen next, comforting a bawling daughter on a hospital bed as the nurse inserts the IV for pain meds. Waiting, watching CT scans, X-rays, praying, hoping, fearing, pretending not to be afraid, praying some more, worrying, swallowing worry and smiling, telling her it will be okay.

What a night! (Spoiler alert: no broken bones, she's going to be okay ... just REALLY sore ... watching to make sure nothing weird happens like fever or vomiting now that she's home.)

And now we're home and I'm thinking about the war between faith and fear, between hope and failure. And I'm reminded again of the story of the man whose son was possessed by a demon. Wow, I can sure relate to this guy!

Here's a bit of what I wrote in Reaching for Wonder that I'm finding helpful today:

The crowd brings the boy forward when Jesus asks for him. As soon as they do, the evil spirit sees Jesus and immediately takes over. It throws the boy down; he rolls around stiff and foaming at the mouth. 
            What the father fears most happens right in front of him . . . again. All the failure, all the pain, all the horror hits as the son he loves falls and foams.
            And Jesus does nothing to stop it. He does nothing to prevent the man’s fear or hide the failure. Instead, he turns back to the father and asks a simple question, “How long has this been going on?” (v. 21)
            I am struck by the lack of panic, lack of hurry, in Jesus. While he interacts with the father, the boy continues to flop and seize. The tension of that moment must have been overwhelming, especially for the father. But Jesus is in no rush.
            The father is able to answer. “Since he was a child. It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him.” Reviewing the fear seems to heighten it, for the man then bursts out, “If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!” (v. 22) I imagine he is shouting these words. 
            But Jesus doesn’t shout back. Instead, he calls the man deeper. At the height of his fear and failure, Jesus asks the man to focus not on his son who is having a life-threatening fit at their feet, but on Jesus and faith. “’If you can do anything?’” Jesus asks. “All things are possible for the one who has faith.” (v. 23) ...
And I love the man’s response: “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” or as it translates from the Greek, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” (v. 24)
There is the tension we all experience - this war within between faith and fear, hope and despair, belief and failure.
Jesus honors the battle. Earlier, he expressed his frustration at the lack of faith of his disciples, the teachers of the law, and the crowd. But here there is no such condemnation. There’s no scorn, no rebuke, not even any disappointment from Jesus. 
Why? This father doesn’t have model faith, and he knows it. And that seems to be the key. Jesus words were never meant to shame him, to say, “Well, I could heal if you’re faith was just good enough.” Instead they were meant to gently invite him to confront his own inner war, his own tension between his faith and fear, and do it at the moment when his fear was strongest, when his son was in the throes of a demon-possessed fit. Jesus was giving him the opportunity to bring the inner war to Jesus and be freed. 
Because that’s exactly what Jesus does next. He doesn’t respond to the man at all. He simply casts out the demon, so violently that the boy appears to be dead. It’s a scary healing, a frightening freedom, but a full freedom. For both of them.
The son is freed from the demon. And the father is freed from his failure and fear. We know that because there is a final test for the father. The boy is still, several in the crowd start whispering that the boy has died. His son’s death was what the father most feared. It would be the final failure. And here his son lies. Still as death. Pale as death. 
And we don’t hear a single word from the father. 
I believe that's because Jesus not only freed the son from the demon but freed the father from the war between fear and faith.
The foolish crowd believes Jesus’ healing resulted in the boy’s death. The father knows better. He waits. He watches. He submits to whatever Jesus will do. Why? Because he’s not only placed his faith in Jesus’ hands, but he has also placed his lack of faith there. His belief andhis unbelief. He brings it all and gives it to Jesus with the simply cry, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” And that is enough.
It’s enough for us too.

It's enough for me. Today. And last night. And tomorrow. Especially as my little girl curls on the couch today telling me how sore she is. Today, faith wins anyway.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What Do You Want? - Being Like Bartimaeus

Hi Friends,


This coming Sunday Bryan and I will be preaching on the story of blind Bartimaeus from Mark 4. Bartimaeus may just be my favorite character in the Bible. There’s something about his tenacity, his audacity, and his fierce vivacity that inspire me. He lived in darkness, and yet he saw more clearly than any of his seeing contemporaries. He saw more clearly than I. A blind beggar sitting in the dirt alongside the road to Jerusalem knew what he wanted, and he couldn’t be dissuaded from it. 

What if I had his vision? What if, in my own darkness, I had his tenacity, audacity, and vivacity? What if all I wanted was to see?

Here's a excerpt from Reaching for Wonder to encourage you ...


What Do You Want?

Bartimaeus leaves behind everything he had counted on when he comes to Jesus. He comes to Jesus with nothing but his need. Nothing. Not his good name, not his good deeds, not  his good thoughts. Nothing but his need, and his faith. His tenacious, audacious faith.
            And Jesus asks him one simple question: “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 51) A few verse prior, Jesus had just asked this question of James and John, two of his closest disciples. The answered by telling him they wanted to sit at his right and left hand in glory. They wanted position. They wanted prestige. 
            But what blind Bartimaeus wants is the very thing God longs to give. Bartimaeus wants mercy, and mercy is sight.
            In one of the most beautiful, simplistic answers in the Bible, Bartimaeus says, “Rabbi, I want to see.” (v. 51)
            I want to see.
            For every person sitting in their own personal darkness, or every one of us who feels blind and cut off, for all of us who are sitting in the dirt beside the road to Jerusalem, those four simple words should be our prayer.
            I want to see.
            I want to see Jesus.
            Nothing else we are asking for, hoping for, praying for, matters so much as seeing him. Seeing him on the road, seeing him on his way to the place where he will die and rise again, seeing him as he looks into our face and tells us “Go!” 
            And like Bartimaeus, once we see him, once we really see him, we will follow him anywhere, even to the cross.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reaching for Wonder When Life Hurts

Hi Friends,


Here are some thoughts from the interviews I've been doing about finding God's wonder when life's at its hardest. I've been encouraged by this message this week (what a tough week!). I hope you'll find encouragement too!

Q: What compelled you to write Reaching for Wonder?

A:       When I first started to really grapple with this idea of reaching for wonder when life is at its worst, my family was in the midst of some of the most difficult and painful times we’ve ever had to face. We were going through betrayal, inside and outside of the family, we were being threatened by a stalker so we were dealing with the difficult and scary process of getting and enforcing a restraining order, business took a turn for the worse. And the stress was causing health problems on top of marital conflicts, and everything else. Life hurt.


Q: So how did the message of Reaching for Wondergrow from there?

A:       I had discovered when we had faced infertility and miscarriage in the past, that the idea of “just have faith” and “God won’t give you more than you can bear” is, well, a bunch of hooey. 

Life is HARD. Heartbreaking, soul-choking things happen to us. This life is not a walk in the park with daisies. It’s a journey that has peaks and beautiful vistas, but it also has dark valleys where we can barely remember what the sun looks like. And sometimes it seems as if those valleys will never end. This life is a battle for our souls. 

So, in my latest valleys I started looking more carefully and deeply at the Jesus we see in the New Testament. I looked at how he interacts with those who are facing things that were more than they could bear. And I found that the real Jesus is not a “just have faith and it will be okay” type of God. He is a breath-taking, vivid God who meets us in the times of trouble and encounters us in ways I didn’t expect. In ways that shake me from my “just have faith” mentality. He’s not after a shallow-band-aid faith. He’s after a life-changing, shock-my-soul relationship with the living God.  And that matters.


Q: Reaching for Wonderlooks at these one-time encounters with Christ in the Bible. A lot of us have heard these stories before.  How is your focus different?

A:       The things that I saw in these stories, and share in the book, changed the way I encounter Christ in my pain. For example, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. Usually when we read that story we focus on how Jesus talks about living water or how we are to worship in spirit and in truth. But that’s not really what that story is about. It’s about how Jesus confronts and completely transforms a woman’s deepest shame into the very thing she uses to get a whole town to come and see Jesus. 

I am the woman at the well. You are the woman at the well. And God is waiting there to take the very things we most want to hide, the things that cause us the most pain and shame, and make them into the things that bring him glory. 

That’s who God is. And that’s what Reaching for Wonderis about – seeing God in our deepest pain in ways that do more than heal, they urge us to reach out for the wonder of what God offers, even, especially, when life hurts the most.


Q: Explain more about this idea of reaching for wonder when life hurts.

A:       The radical idea that I’m saying is true is that we can find the wonder of God in the place we least expect it to be: in the very places of our deepest pain and shame. And we find that wonder not by trying to do an end-around our pain, not by skirting the darkest parts of it, but by encountering Christ in it and through it. I’m saying that in the darkest, most hopeless-seeming times of our is precisely when God is offering us his most breath-taking wonder, and he’s calling us to hope one more time and reach for him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hope for the Doubting Heart

Hi Friends,


The first chapter of Reaching for Wonder explores the story of the man in Mark 1:41-45 who says to Jesus, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Sometimes all we can bring to Jesus is our if.

Who is God in the face of our doubts? Here are some thoughts from the end of chapter one ...

Who Is This God?
         Who is this God who hears my doubt and offers not condemnation but more than I can even dream? I mull over that question as I drive away from the home of my friend with ALS. If you were willing, Lord, you could heal her. . .
         But he doesn’t. 
         Or does he?
         Her ALS progresses. Today she was surrounded with tubes to help her breathe and to pull the mucus from her lungs. Another machine pounded her chest to break up the mucus for removal. 
         She was able to speak only through the movement of her eyes on a computer screen. She asked how she could pray for me.
         I read to her from a book called Heaven.
         And my soul was filled.
         If you are willing, Lord . . .
         I am willing.
         And in that moment as I approach a stop sign, my mind still caught in the room where my friend sits in her wheelchair amidst the menagerie of machines, I know it’s true. God has taken my if” and transformed it to wonder.
         He is willing, not to cure the body (at least in this life) but to make my friend whole, and in doing so to touch me, make me whole, as well. With every labored breath, I see God with her, offering more than physical healing, offering himself – a close, intimate walk through her last stages of life, with him. I see the wonder of a God who can use even this awful ALS as a testimony to them” (v. 44b) and to me. 
         People ask me why I go visit my friend when she can no longer speak more than a few computer-generated words, can barely even breathe. They think I am being kind, they think I am faithful. They don’t know the truth. I go because there, in the eyes of my friend, I see the God who takes my if” and makes me whole. I encounter the God who is reaching for me.
         And I discover anew that my doubts are no barrier to God’s gift of his presence. I discover this God who is willing to give me what I truly need to become all he created me to be.
         I find the God of Gideon, who doubted that God was truly calling him to rescue the Israelites from Midianite oppression. Three times in Judges 6 Gideon brought to God his if” and asked for a sign.
But Gideon replied to him, ‘With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?’” (v. 13) 
Then Gideon said to him, ‘If I’ve gained your approval, please show me a sign that it’s really you speaking with me.’” (v. 17)
But then Gideon said to God, ‘To see if you really intend to rescue Israel through me as you have declared, I’m now putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor.’” (v. 36-37)
         Gideon doubted. God encountered. God led. And Gideon received more than a blessing; he received a purpose and the presence of God in it.
   
         That is the God we have. The God who embraces our "if" and changes it to glory. 
God is willing, not because of our perfect faith, but despite our stumblings. He loves you. And that is enough.
         So come, sit with me and with Gideon, waiting, breath held, our hearts whispering, Lord, if you are willing ... so am I.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Where's Your Focus When Life is Tough?

Hi Friends,


I'll be starting radio interviews soon for Reaching for Wonder and wanted to share some thoughts with you about where our focus is when life gets tough. Here are some interview questions and answers that you might encouraging and helpful during the tough times:

Q: What do you mean when you say our focus is wrong when life is at its worst? Doesn’t it make sense to focus on getting things fixed as soon as possible?

A: I was shocked to discover that while my focus is on healing during the hardest times of life, God’s is not. I grapple with the idea that his focus is on relationship, on revealing himself to us and drawing us closer to him at the very time when all we want is relief from the pain. Discovering the reality of this truth has changed the way I approach the hard things in my life. Now, I’m looking for that moment when he stops the clamoring and calls me daughter. I’m listening for the words, “Do you want to be healed?” I know that my doubts in the midst of my pain are something he accepts and doesn’t scorn. Focusing on him instead of my need for a quick fix has opened me receiving and recognizing what he’s doing both in me and in my situation.

Q: How does this focus on relationship make a difference in our worst times? 

A: It opens our eyes and allows us to see God where we would have thought he was absent. When life hurts, and we pray for relief, we tend to have in our minds a very specific picture of what our answered prayers should look like. Very rarely do those pictures match up with God’s plans. Opening our vision allows us to recognize where and how he’s actually working around us and in us. That’s where we can connect with the wonder of God even in the worst of circumstances.

Q: Now for the hard question: Why does this wonderful God who loves us allow these terrible things to happen in our lives? 

A: I’m sorry to disappoint, but I truly don’t know. However, I do know this: There is absolutely nothing in our lives that cannot be transformed for his glory. Nothing! When I doubt that, I look at the cross. In Jesus’ time, a cross was a symbol of the worst kind of guilt and shame and pain. There was no worse death. Yet today the cross is a symbol of hope, redemption, and salvation. Jesus turned the ugliest thing into the most beautiful, the most wonder-filled. That’s what he can do for us too. He specializes in taking the hardest, worst things in our lives and making them beautiful. I see it not only in the cross and the New Testament, but in the lives of the people around me. God’s wonder is found, somehow, in these places in life we least expect it to be. 

Q: What final words of encouragement would you offer to those who are right now going through the worst time of their lives?

A: One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 28:28. It says, “Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever.” Sometimes we just feel threshed, but this verse says that there’s a purpose to the threshing – to make something good and beautiful that will bless you and bless others. This threshing has purpose, and it won’t go on forever. 

So, reach for wonder. Dare to hope again. One more time, reach … not just for healing but for transformation, relationship, growth … wonder. He wants to give you more than the edge of his cloak. In the worst of times, the God of the Universe is longing to give you himself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Words You Need When Life Hurts

Hi Friends,

REACHING FOR WONDER, Encountering Christ When Life Hurts released this week. I so hope you'll pick up a copy! It's available wherever books are sold. So, get the book, read the book, be encouraged by it, and I promise that you'll be strengthen for the journey of today and the journey ahead. This book really did become the book I needed when life got tough. I think it will be a helpful companion for you too!

Here's a link that will take you to various online bookstores (click the "Buy this Book" button): http://bit.ly/2GLFeiA

Here's the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2uHAJy0

If you'd like to hear me talking about how much the book has meant to me and my prayers for how it will impact readers, here's the YouTube link to a video: https://youtu.be/wG1hb5fF9xg

And here is the original, unedited introduction to Reaching for Wonder:

INTRODUCTION 

The Bible gives us a single encounter, a brief moment in time in which a person in pain encountered a Messiah, a Savior. A single instance of what it looks like to see his face in the hardest times of life. A glimpse of a hand reaching, a heart touching, a God who beckons us to see him through our struggle. 
I ponder this God for whom simple healing is not enough. He insists on the encounter. He insists I see. When I am afraid to hope, afraid to reach, afraid to pray one more prayer. When I am mute and I am blind. What does it mean to encounter him then?
What does it mean to encounter him in the dark? I stand beside my son’s bed at two in the morning. He lies there, tubes attached, equipment in a pouch around his waist. Blond hair curls around his face, shadowed lashes touch his cheeks, illuminated only by starlight.
He sleeps. 
I do not. 
A breeze sneaks through the window, lifts the curtains. I adjust his blanket, watch for his chest to rise, to fall.
He is alive. For now. But there’s no guarantee. Not anymore. Not ever again. 
I pull out his blood glucose meter and shove in a test strip. I wait for the beep. Then, I take a sleeping boy’s finger and make him bleed. Rough fingers, calloused from poke after poke after poke. He does not wake. For him, it has become a familiar suffering.
For me, the pain will always be fresh. My son, seven years old, happy, innocent, beautiful, and diabetic. Type 1 diabetes, a disease that could steal his life in a single night, or steal it over years. A cruel disease, and a fickle one. 
I hate it. No cure, no cause, no prevention, and no life without the insulin that his own pancreas will no longer provide. I provide it now. If he has enough, he lives. Too much, he dies. It is a delicate dance, every day, every night, every minute, every hour, his life held in the tiny vial of clear liquid attached by tubing through his skin.
So I stand in the darkness and listen to him breath. I test. I hope. I fight the fear. Will the number be too low? Will it be too high? Will I be monitoring all through the night so that this otherwise healthy boy will greet me in the morning? Will I ever sleep soundly again?
I sigh. I will not cry. Not tonight. Not again. I gather his blood on the tiny test strip. I count to five. Five long seconds that feel like a spin of the roulette wheel. Five eternities because I am no gambler. 
And like roulette, there is a number. Seventy-five. Too low. I am not a winner tonight.
I shake him. “Jayden, wake up.” He groans but doesn’t wake. I pull out a piece of dried fruit strip and shove it into his mouth. He chews, eyes closed. I watch for him to swallow, to make sure he does not choke. Ten seconds. Twenty. His throat moves.
I breathe again. Constant vigilance. Constant concern. The life of my precious son, hanging in the balance of blood sugars.
This is the pain I endure. This is the suffering I cannot escape. Day after day. Night after night. Watching, waiting, hoping and afraid to hope. An incurable disease. A beloved son. 
But my pain is not unique. It is no greater, no less than yours. A lost job, a broken marriage, an estranged child, an untimely death, a scary diagnosis, an incurable disease ... none of us get through life unscathed. None of us have life just as we wish it. 
We are not who we wanted to be. Sometimes we are a woman who’s had five husbands and the man she has now is not her husband. Sometimes we live with shame. Sometimes we are a widow with a dead son. Sometimes we’ve lost everything we hold dear. Sometimes we’re sick, lame, and blind. And sometimes we’ve been that way so long we don’t know how to be well.  Sometimes our we want to believe, but our faith has failed us.  And sometimes, our hurt and hopelessness go so deep that all we can do is walk away. 
I’ve been there. Maybe you have too. Maybe you’ve stood in the dark and believed life is naught but a spin of the wheel. Maybe you’ve prayed until you cannot pray anymore. Maybe you’ve come to a point where all you can see is the pain.
And that’s where Christ encounters us. 
He encounters us in the heat of the day, on the dusty paths, in the crowds and the dark rooms, on the side of the sea, and on the road out of town when all hope seems lost. In our worst moments, he comes to bring living water, to break the darkness and break the bread.  He opens our eyes when we cannot see until all we can see is him.
So I invite you to walk. Walk through these stories of the New Testament’s one-time encounters with Christ. See the depth and purposes of a God whose plans and passion go far beyond our healing. They restore our sight. They restore our soul ... even, and especially, in those moments when life hurts the most. 

Come, dare to encounter the living God, and hope again ...