Book Excerpt: Everything Can Change in Forty Days

Book Excerpt: Everything Can Change in Forty Days

Jean WatsonBy Jean Watson7 Minutes

Excerpt: Everything Can Change In Forty Days: A Journey of Transformation Through Christ, by Jean Waston

Day Two: Holy Ground

Imagine that Jesus is standing in front of you at this very moment. “What would you like me to do for you?” He asks.

What would you say? If anything were possible, what would you ask Jesus to change about your life? I have asked this question many times in my travels and have yet to find anyone who does not have an answer. Even those who don’t call themselves Christians somehow recognize that the name of Jesus is an invitation to believe in the impossible!

A few years ago, my brother blessed my children and me with a trip to Chicago. We enjoyed shopping (or at least window shopping) on the exclusive Magnificent Mile. We shared lovely meals and took in breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. However, all along the way we were distracted by the beggars who seemed to be constantly underfoot.

I tried to ignore them and look the other way, but soon I began to feel uneasy. So with my children pretending not to know me, I cautiously approached an older gentleman standing in front of a grocery store. He was selling magazines and holding a tin bucket that simply read, “Please help, God bless.” Putting a dollar in his bucket, I looked into his eyes that were yellowed from years of alcoholism.

“What’s your name?” I began.

“George,” he answered.

“George, if Jesus were standing in front of you, what would you ask Him to do for you?”

There was no hesitation in his response. “I wouldn’t ask Him for anything,” George said. “I got saved just two weeks ago. The Lord has forgiven my sins and given me a fresh start in life. He’s taught me that all I need to do is acknowledge Him every day, and He will take care of me!”

Tears welled up in my eyes and at that moment I could no longer remember the sermon I had planned to preach. The one in front of me was doing the preaching! George had chosen to seek the Lord above earthly things. Oh that my heart could be as content with nothing but God!

I then prayed a simple prayer asking God to bless him and turned to walk away. However, as I tried to leave, the Holy Spirit stopped me. “You go back and bless him.” I knew what the Lord was saying. Reaching into my wallet, I pulled out all of my cash and handed it to him. As he looked at the roll of bills that I pressed into his hand, he wept and laughed at the same time.

“You just bought me off the street today. I can go home to my wife and pay our bills. Thank you!”

No amount of money could have purchased the joy I shared with George on that day. The Lord was a burning bush in our midst, and together we worshiped Him right there amid the crowd of hurried shoppers. It was a holy moment.

Instead of focusing on past failures or present circumstances, George was worshiping the One who saved him . . . even if nothing changed. Because his heart was seeking the Lord above his own desires, God was blessing him with peace, joy, and contentment that could never be taken away. At the same time, Jesus was also providing for his earthly needs while changing his life!

So often we seek the Lord because of what He can do for us rather than worshiping Him simply for being God. As George had discovered, placing our hope in anything or anyone but the Lord usually brings pain and emptiness. Only when we surrender to our Master’s plans can our hearts be truly satisfied. Whenever we say yes to the anything of God, we make room in our hearts for His everything.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)

Will you have the courage to take a moment and worship the Lord right where you are? He has an abundant life prepared for us in Christ, but most of us settle for less than His best. Today may we lay down our expectations of what we want God to do for us and ask Him for the fullness of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Father, forgive me for loving my own life more than I love You. Forgive me for seeking gifts rather than seeking the Giver of all good gifts. Today I surrender my hopes, my dreams, and my desires to You and receive Your hopes, Your dreams, and Your desires for my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Questions for Meditation

In Jesus’ first public sermon, He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Why was Jesus able to do more miracles among the poor and destitute than among those who had wealth and stature?

Make a list of any dreams or desires that would be hard to give to the Lord if He asked for them. Pray for the grace to surrender everything to Him so that you may receive His very best.

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