Ninth of a Series
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”
Titus 2:11 (NIV)
In the few weeks after our daughter Lydia was so seriously ill, I learned how far word had spread and just how many people were praying for her. I phoned my mother, who was at a dinner party with some friends from the Baptist church she attends. “It’s not looking good,” I had to tell her, “They nearly lost her.” I learnt later that as soon as we finished speaking, the host said they should stop and pray for Lydia there and then. And subsequently other members of the Baptist church began to pray, as did people at various churches their friends and relatives attend.
My father mobilised a prayer network in our denomination, which spread to congregations across the UK. Through my wife’s parents, people were praying in the Church of England congregation where she grew up, and again in the churches of friends and relatives. Through our sisters, people in the Salvation Army and Anglican churches they attended were praying too.
Over those critical hours and days there were hundreds if not thousands of prayers reaching the throne room of the living God. And I believe God heard every one of them regardless of where they were from. Late on the Thursday night when Lydia was being transferred to the specialist unit in a larger hospital, another baby’s parents popped in to see us. They were Muslims, and they said they would be praying for Lydia the next day which was Friday, the Islamic day of worship and prayer. I believe God heard their prayers too.
It was a powerful reminder for me that God’s grace is bigger than we may often realise. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God’s grace is big enough for the whole world. II Corinthians 5:19 says “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” God’s grace is big enough for everything and everyone. To cover every sin of every sinner since the world began, from the worst to the best, the least to the greatest. Just because someone may not believe or worship exactly as we do, doesn’t mean God loves them less or isn’t listening to their prayers. In Jesus Christ the same grace is made available to all.
At Lydia’s blessing at church in the summer of 2009 my wife and I wrote in the order of service: “Many people across the country and around the world were praying as Lydia went through the valley of the shadow of death that night. We believe God heard those prayers and Jesus, the Good Shepherd, picked up his little lamb and carried her through to green pastures. We thank him for his love and for Lydia’s life.”
Lord God, thank you so much that in your great love you heard and answered so many prayers for Lydia’s life. Help us to understand the magnitude of your incredible grace more clearly every day. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Simon Williams
*You can read previous episodes of this study by going to the archive button on the website www.daybyday.org.uk and finding the dates 6, 13, 20 & 27 November 2013. This series resumed on 26 March ,2, 9 & 16 April 2014. The concluding study will appear next week on 30 April 2014.
Worldwide Church of God Cambridge
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