Weekly Manna for Memory
“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'”
Let’s consider the story from yesterday for a moment. Do you think Jesus was unaware of the storm while he slept in the boat? Or was he just confident in their safety in spite of the storm? Or, perhaps a larger question…do you think Jesus caused the storm? Hhmmm, that does put a different twist on the story, doesn’t it?
No matter what your theology is regarding God’s involvement in the difficulties of life, I think most Christians agree that God does retain a certain measure of control in what challenges become part of our journey on this earth. Whether God “allows” it or actually causes it, a difficult circumstance has to go through His loving, sovereign hands before it reaches us.
We see the suffering He allowed Satan to put Job through (Job 1). We see throughout Israel’s history how God placed them in situations or brought difficulty on them to help them to seek Him out or to turn back to Him if they strayed. We also see how time and time again, close followers, disciples of Jesus, faced much persecution and suffering due to their faith. For God’s glory.
God uses the storms to grow us and to bring glory to Himself. He doesn’t waste a storm. He isn’t surprised by them.
In John 9:1-11, we see an interesting story:
As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’
Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, ‘Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?’ Some claimed that he was.
Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’
But he himself insisted, ‘I am the man.’
‘How then were your eyes opened?’ they demanded.
He replied, ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.’
This man glorified God. In this case, he was released from his infirmity. But he had already been blind and suffered many years before this miracle. Then, because of his obedience to Jesus, “the work of God [was] displayed in his life” (v. 3).
And do you think the blind man’s faith was bolstered? You bet. Do you think the disciples in the boat had a greater faith in the power of Jesus and His divinity? You bet. That glorifies God.
Our life on this earth is really all about God. As much as our culture and society (and Satan, for that matter) would like us to believe it’s about ourselves, it has never been about us, or about “me”. Creation was created by God and for God. He gave us free will and longs for us to personally choose to love Him, but ultimately, we are here on earth to bring glory to God in the good times and when life gets difficult. How we choose to do that or not do that will impact our life and the lives of those around us—both now and for eternity.
You are in control of my life. You are carefully orchestrating events so that I have opportunity to glorify you to those around me. Help me to trust You. Help me to recognize moments when I can obey You or when I can tell people of how You have journeyed with me or blessed me so that they, too, can recognize Your goodness and faithfulness. I want to glorify You with every moment of this life you have given me. Thank you for having control over the storms. Amen.
Meal of Manna
What are some circumstances in your life that you have been complaining about or just surviving through? Is it the stage your child is in? Some difficulty in your marriage? An illness? Financial difficulties? People you don’t get along with?
Bring these situations to God one at a time in your journal and ask Him what He might want to teach you through them? In what way is it strengthening your character? Have you been learning patience? Has your prayer life improved? Has it caused you to become more empathetic to others in similar situations? Glorify God for how He is working in and through your circumstances.
If you cannot see how it might be working out for your good, continue to bring the situation to Jesus with open hands and an open heart. He sees all your pain and His promise is to walk with you through it and not waste it.
Some situations such as abuse or great financial strain might require you to take steps of faith in getting help and support. Ask God for direction in these areas.
Take-Away for Today
Write down what God shows you. Post on your mirror any verses He uses to remind you of His goodness, His love and his promise to work all things to the good of those who love Him.
Seek out one way today that you can glorify God on purpose. Perhaps you can thank Him for things out loud with your kids. Maybe you seek to make reconciliation with someone simply because that’s what Christ asks of us…even if it’s difficult. Or has God already worked a miracle in your life or journeyed with you and you need to tell someone about it so that they too can be encouraged in their faith. Ask God to bring something to mind and then do it.