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Things get better and better with God

R.A. Mathews Special to The Star

Angelica is a woman of color, perhaps 40, with a smile from here to there. To know her is to know kindness; a genuine, deep-rooted love from Christ.

Angelica (not her real name) lives in the Florida Panhandle but was born in a land where lush green mountains laced with crystal waterfalls give way to white sand beaches and clear emerald water. Honduras. A nation with the “world’s highest murder rate per capita,” according to the BBC in 2018.

Gangs roam the desperately poor country bent on robbery, rape, and mayhem.

Her husband left for the States ahead of her and sent money back. She then escaped with their two daughters.

I met her about five years ago. At that time, she was working as a cook at a hotel where I often stayed. My friendly little dog would run the halls like they were a raceway. The staff greeted her by name.

“Good morning, Baby!” they'd say.

Right after Baby died, I was there and my grief was overwhelming. At breakfast, Angelica would wrap her arms around me and look in my sad eyes. She’d say, “Things get better and better with God.”

Every day, with a smile from here to there, she’d tell me, “Things get better and better with God.”

Scripture confidently says that “some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 NASB

Such angels will seem fully human, and I wonder about her. You’ll see why in a minute.

First, let me show you a famous scene in Scripture. It’s at a time when Jesus has sent his disciples out in pairs to towns with the power to heal.

“They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Mark 6:12-13

In one such place, a father brought his son to the disciples. The boy had seizures—he would fall to the ground, foam at the mouth, and gnash about. He’d nearly died after falling into both water and fire.

But the disciples couldn’t heal him.

So, the father finds Jesus. “If you can do anything,” the man says, “take pity on us and help us.”

“’If you can?’” Jesus asks.

Eleven translations report Jesus' question, including the NASB-New American Standard Bible, NIV-New International Version, and ESV-English Standard Version. But it’s not in the King James. In seminary, I was taught that the NASB is the most faithful version. Whatever you believe, it’s good to read Scripture in several translations.

So, the man says to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us ...”

“’If you can?’” Jesus asks. The man’s words seem doubtful.

The Lord then continues, “Everything is possible to one who believes.”

“I do believe!” the father cries out, desperately wanting Jesus’ help. And then the father famously says, “Help my unbelief!” He’s saying, don’t let my boy’s healing fail because of anything I’ve said or done.

Jesus isn’t trying to punish the man. Our Lord is telling him a great truth: We act on what we believe.

About a year after Angelica consoled my grief, I was at a hotel in a different city. Remember that part; I was in a different hotel in a different city. I’d been up all night praying about a life-changing decision and wanted to leave early.

When I opened the door to the hallway, there stood Angelica.

She didn’t know I was at the hotel. If I’d left two minutes sooner, I’d have missed her. She was working in housekeeping and somehow standing before my door.

We sat and talked. I told her my situation, and she told me exactly what to do. When God provides an angel with an answer, you listen. Her words turned out to be dead-on accurate.

The father of the boy wasn’t defeated when the disciples failed—he brought his boy to Jesus. And the father wasn’t defeated when Jesus challenged his words. “I do believe!” he cries out, and if I’ve failed then help me!

See his great faith!

We act on what we believe.

Things get better and better with God. Believe it. In the worst of times, those words will keep your heart with Jesus.

Believe.

Things get better and better with God.

Mathews is an ordained minister and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at letters@RAMathews.com.

Copyright © 2020 R.A. Mathews All rights reserved.