Do you live in a state of constant expectation that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says, he will do? This appears to be the way the disciples in Acts 9:37-38 lived. In the face of what most humans would consider IMPOSSIBLE, they exhibited outrageous faith; the kind of faith that anticipates the inevitable intervention of the Almighty God. The kind of faith that is completely surrendered to the will of God, whatever that may be. They displayed the kind of faith that invites ridicule.
Leon Morris, a New Testament scholar, once said: “There is no point in accepting Christian teaching if we refuse to let it shape our lives.” The writer of the book of James is more direct. He says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22). And yet believers around the world have turned their backs on doing the word. Instead of letting God’s word shape our lives, we have allowed the influences of our world to shape us.
Where do you turn to in times of trouble? It’s quite a revelation to watch little children interact with their parents. Whenever a little child is in distress, that child will turn towards a parent and look up with lifted arms, expectantly waiting to be picked up and comforted. In such a case, the parent’s most eloquent response is to bend down, pick the child up and hold them close to reassure them. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s love.
Last night I attended the premier showing of the soon to be released movie “Breakthrough” which is based on a true story. After the movie, all I could think to say was “Wow!” What a display of God’s power, and of the unfathomable ways in which he works through ordinary humans and events to affect his divine plan.
The children of Israel had been held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10), when the word of God came to them declaring that God was “doing a new thing;” something they had never seen before. God was doing this new thing right there in the wilderness; in that uncomfortable wasteland; a place where they did not want to be. At the time they must have wondered what he meant.
All around the world, millions of people are looking for love. Some swipe right, others left. Unfortunately, as Johnny Lee reminds us in his song, Lookin’ for Love we often go “looking for love in all the wrong places.” What would you say if I told you there is no greater love than the love of God? As a young child, I often sang a song in Sunday school that went something like this:
While visiting Kenya recently, I stopped by a local shopping center in the western part of the country. As I looked around the shops, I observed a woman emerging from a tiny kiosk with a young girl, about five years old, carrying a book bag on her back. As I watched them, the woman bent down and whispered something in the girl’s ear, simultaneously pointing towards a building which was about half a mile down the road. With that, the little girl began to run. I stood there glued to the scene, fascinated to see such a tiny child running such a long distance on her own. I watched her frame grow smaller and smaller as the distance between her and her mother increased. Occasionally, this precious child would slow down and begin to walk and her mother, who kept her eyes on her the whole time, would shout encouragingly, “Keep running, you’re almost there.” With every shout, the young girl who never once looked back, would once again break into a jog. Finally, she made it! As she turned into the building that her mother had pointed out to her earlier, the woman went back into her kiosk to serve her customers.
Have you ever had moments in life when you have felt frail, weak, or distressed? Have you gone through a season so dark, you felt there was nowhere to turn? The truth is all humans, no matter their occupation or station in life, go through seasons of struggle and difficulty. It is when we are at our most vulnerable that we can draw on God’s strength.
Many of us living in the US will fall back on time, this week (adjusting our clocks one hour back). This practice can often make some people feel as though they have power over time, and this can lead into a pattern of thinking we can control the events of our lives and change the time when important things should happen. The truth is, we can try but we will not succeed. For as the Psalmist says, concerning God, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4).”