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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday After Epiphany

“He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:45-52)

The disciples had a busy "day." First they saw 5,000 people fed with only a few loaves and fishes. Then they were in their boat during a violent storm and saw someone walking on water. Then Jesus entered their boat and calmed the sea. Amazing things happened because of their association with Jesus.

Mark's last words describing this experience make me a bit frustrated. "On the contrary, their hearts were hardened." How could these disciples, who were in God's physical presence, have their hearts hardened after seeing all of those miracles? They asked, "How can we feed these people?" and Jesus provided. They cried out in the storm, and Jesus came and calmed the sea. What were these disciples thinking that their hearts became hardened?

In my life, perhaps apathy hardens of my heart. I ask, and God answers my prayers in many ways. My car starts after the lights have been on for 20 minutes in minus-14-degree weather. The vet figures out why my old girl greyhound is losing weight. My son enjoys his life in Los Angeles working by day and pursuing his dream of acting. I find the important piece of paper that I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find. Do I attribute these events to technology, science, luck or God's care for me? I honestly admit that my gratitude prayers are not as frequent as my request prayers. 

Today is my 20-year wedding anniversary. I prayed for several years to have someone with whom to share my life. After 15 years I had given up, but God hadn't. He put my husband, Tom, in my life not only to share life but also to glorify God with our vocation of marriage.     

As I write this, I know that it is time to open my heart more in gratitude and to believe that God touches my life daily. God has given me modern-day tools to remind me to stop and be grateful. I am an older computer "geek," so I will use Outlook and my smart phone to remind me to write in my gratitude journal until it becomes a habit. What tools could you use to remember to spend time thanking God for these gifts he quietly gives you?

Heavenly Father,

You care for us as You care for the sparrow and the lilies.

Help us to recognize You in the events of our daily life.

Help us to continue to pray for our families, neighbors, communities

and the strangers we meet along the way.

Help us to feel Your love and care.

Through Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.

Margie Smotherman RN, BSN, MA, PMP
Avera Call Center, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

1 JOHN 4:11-18• PSALM 72:1-2, 10, 12-13• MARK 6:45-52

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