For many years, the following quote hung in both my home and work offices:
The quote served as a daily reminder to dream and think outside the box; to bravely work on new initiatives that make a difference in the lives of others. This sentence inspired me to work hard to make my personal and professional goals become a reality.
During home renovations and office reorganization, I removed the quote from both locations. Recently, while riffling through a pile of documents, I found one of the copies. As I read it, I was startled at how the meaning had changed. The quote originally was very “me”-centric and action-oriented; what I need to do for my future dreams. Immersing myself in Gospel study during Lent helped me realize that this quote misses the most important part of the future.
After spending January and February reading Old Testament books, I was quite excited to dive into the first 4 books of the New Testament. While studying the Gospel, I found myself reading and rereading the miracles performed by Jesus, especially the stories of healing. As I studied Mark, I’d cross reference the stories with those in Matthew, Luke and John. I’d wonder what it was like to be healed by Jesus, imagining intense feelings of trust, love, joy and gratitude. While reading John, I found clarity and felt compelled to underline the word “believe”.
Consider the leper, ostracized from the community, unwell and unwelcome; the woman, bleeding and financially destitute; the blind man, begging for food and care from others. I suspect that each of these 3 people dreamt of a different life. But unlike a Disney story, dreams alone do not come true. And no amount of work could change their life course.
“And a leper approached, did him homage and said, ‘Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.’ He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ‘I will do it. Be made clean.’ His leprosy was cleansed immediately.”Matthew 8:1-3 NABRE
The woman afflicted with bleeding:
“There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only got worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’ Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She fell down before Jesus. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.'”Mark 5:25-29,33b-34 NABRE
Bartimaeus, the blind man:
“And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take courage; get up, he is calling you.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ Jesus told him. ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.”Mark 10:46-49; 51-52 NABRE
The leper, the woman and the blind man were healed. But, not because of a hope for a better life. They were healed because of their belief that Jesus could perform miracles. In the Gospels, we read about many who benefitted from His healing power. I assume that for all of these individuals, it was a “dream come true”. For some, it was not just belief that Jesus could heal, it was faith that the Son of David, the Lord and Master would heal.
Do we believe that Jesus came to heal us? Like the leper, the woman and Bartimaeus, we have been blessed with a miracle. One that tops anything that the Walt Disney team could imagine! Jesus Christ rose from the dead to fulfill God’s covenant with us. He came to give his life as ransom for sin, to call us to repentance and to give us eternal life.
If we believe in the miracle of Jesus and that his love redeems, then we have faith. Through that faith, the most beautiful dream has come true for each of us: our sins are forgiven and our souls are healed, forever.
With respect to Eleanor Roosevelt, I amend her quote:
“The future belongs to those who believe in Jesus and the resurrection.”
Scripture References (NABRE):
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'”John 11:25-26
“‘Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do'”John 14:11-12
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45
“‘I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”Luke 5:32
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”Luke 19:10