By Derek Maul

“Now we too, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.” – Galatians 4:2

A couple of weeks back, my mother spent a few days in the hospital. The week was long, grueling, and often frustrating, full with tests and examinations and consultations.

The bottom line is that we now know a lot more about why my mother has not been feeling well, what to look for going forward, why going to the emergency room was exactly the right thing to do given her symptoms, and why we want to absolutely avoid being admitted to the hospital ever again if at all possible.

I also learned more about how faith plays in. I believe that divine healing is something real; but we are mortal beings, and our identity as Children of Promise is more far-reaching, challenging, and complete than good check-ups and an easy life.

In fact, I’d argue that living into my calling to be a disciple of Jesus is far more likely to set me up for a life of challenge than it is a life of ease. God does not steer us around the valley and the shadow, but God’s promise is, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23:4).

These are words to live by; these are words to struggle by; these are words to struggle with; these are words to encourage us; these are words to give us courage.

What we need is not so much physical healing (it’s only temporary, even Lazarus died again later) what we need is courage. And courage is part of our identity as Children of Promise.

To live well is not to live pain free, or trouble free; to live well is to live into our identity as Children of Promise.

We are a people called to follow Jesus, called to live as God’s own children, called to represent light, and love, and hope, and grace. We are called to not only be disciples, but to look like – to be recognizable as – Children of Promise!

Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at