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When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

John 21:15

Have you ever stilled your heart and really listened for God to answer? I can count fewer than ten times when I have. Usually I have to reach a point of great need and desperation before I will look beyond myself and listen for God.

One of those times was a couple of weeks ago. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer and was facing radical surgery, and something happened in my job that made me consider resigning. Every direction seemed to bring anxiety.

I wanted answers and I wanted them right away. I wanted my mom to be cured instantly. I wanted to know what to do about work. I wanted to feel some resolution to these problems. I wanted them to be over.

One night that week, I went to a meeting with my small group from church; the topic was “Being Restored to Jesus.” Our leader used the verse above and asked us to put ourselves in Peter’s place; but before we get to the last sentence, he said we were to stop and listen to see if we could hear Jesus’ response to us individually as we proclaimed our love:

Jesus: "John, do you truly love me more than these?"

Me: "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus: [your answer here]

I stopped and really tried to listen. I put my head back and closed my eyes. I heard Jesus ask me the question. I answered with a statement about my love. Then I heard Jesus say to me, "Then be patient and let me work." That was the word. It was simple, but it stuck with me.

Me: "But Jesus, my mother is sick."

Jesus: "John, do you truly love me more than these?"

Me: "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus: "Then be patient and let me work."

If I love Jesus more than my problems, family, job, friends, and even myself, then I can turn loose of all of them and embrace Him. He doesn’t offer to fix every problem, and He doesn’t promise that my mother or my job will get better. He just expects me to love Him and trust Him.

It is dangerous to think that God will always give us earthly release from our trials. Some people are imprisoned unjustly. Some have terminal illnesses. The list goes on. But God offers us hope from our despair. He promises to use our lives to His glory if we let Him. He promises to bless others through us and to give us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in return (Galatians 5:22). In the grand scheme of things, what more could we ask?

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