Day 3 – Receiving the Kingdom
When I noticed George on that street corner in Chicago, I had compassion on him. I had no idea what had led him to such a state of desperation, but I knew what desperation felt like. As a young violinist, I dreamed of playing in a symphony and perhaps teaching at a university, but then I made choices that were not God’s best for my life. Many years later, I found my dreams unfulfilled and God’s plan for my life unrealized. Instead of achieving my created purpose, I was living in a rented house as a single, divorced mother of four young children. Life was simply about survival as I struggled financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Depression overwhelmed me and just getting through the day was a chore. As I laid in bed at night, I would imagine myself holding onto Jesus’ robe and every morning I awoke with tear stains on my pillow. It was in that place of desperation that I finally hit rock bottom. Reaching for the Bible on my nightstand, I opened it and immediately saw the words, “Lord, save me!” (Ps. 116:4 niv). Knowing I could pray that prayer, I quietly said, “God, I can’t help myself because I am at zero right now. I need you to be my 100-percent God.”
At that very moment, I was startled by the ringing of the phone. Picking it up, I heard a kind man ask if my name was Jean Watson and if I played the violin. This man said he had heard my name mentioned in a restaurant the night before and had begun calling all of the Watsons in the phone book until he found me. I confirmed who I was and his next words stunned me, “I want to hear you play.” This chance phone call from the concertmaster of the symphony eventually led to a job as a violinist and the beginning of a new life. Although I didn’t know it at the time, God was giving me a future that would not only sustain my family but also fulfill my childhood dreams!
Like George, I held out my bucket asking for help and the Lord was there ready to fill it with much more than I could have possibly asked. God longs to bring the change we so desperately need if we will only ask Him! In His first public words about Himself, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18–19)
Jesus fulfilled these prophetic words as He healed the sick, raised the dead, delivered those in bondage, and saved the lost. He showed us what heaven looks like and then gave us access to all of its possibilities as we pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Transformation in our lives is not dependent on the strength of our faith. Instead, change comes when we call upon the Lord and then have the courage to answer the phone!
If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you. (Matt. 17:20)
Maybe you have prayed for something and nothing happened. Maybe the idea of hoping again and then being disappointed is just too scary. I can’t promise that God will answer your prayers the way you desire, but I can promise that when you call upon His name, He will answer in the way that best displays His glory.
Let’s pray for God to give us the courage to ask for the same healing, freedom, comfort, and joy that Jesus purchased for us on the cross. May the mustard seed of faith sprout in our hearts and blossom into a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
Lord, give me the humility to admit that I need help. Give me the courage to call upon You with childlike faith and receive Your answers. I want to experience the full and abundant life You have for me in Christ! Be glorified in my life so others may know the transforming power of Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Why is it necessary to ask God for help? Why don’t His blessings just come automatically?
- Jesus instructed us to pray for God’s kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Is this really possible?
- What does heaven look like in your life today? Where do you need God’s kingdom to come?