Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 108; 150, Job 38:1-11, 42:1-5, Revelation 19:4-16, John 1:29-34
Divine intervention. We are trained to believe it looks like the parting of the Red Sea or the walls crumbling around Jericho, like the resurrection of Lazarus or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, like great reward or great punishment. In the case of Job, divine intervention felt both like punishment as everything was stripped away from him and like reward as his fortunes were restored because he remained faithful, but in the end the reasons for God’s actions were beyond his understanding. We would call God’s involvement in the life of John the Baptist a blessing – he had the privilege of preparing Israel for the arrival of Christ – but his reward for faithfulness was execution. When we hear examples like this, does it diminish our enthusiasm for a divine hands-on management style?
What if divine intervention wasn’t always quite so … obvious? It seems counter-intuitive that God would create a universe in need of constant tweaking, but is it possible interaction with God is built into the fabric of creation and we go through each day touched by God in small ways we may or may not notice? Not in the sense that the Spirit is some cosmic personal assistant saving us a good parking space or sparing us from the financial woes someone else is suffering (though there’s nothing wrong with expressing gratitude for these situations). Every experience we have is an opportunity to connect with God, but we must choose to make that connection. When we don’t get that parking space or pay raise, are we just as grateful? When we compare our lives to peers we consider more successful than ourselves (never a good idea, but inevitable), do we acknowledge the blessing of an ordinary life? Maybe divine intervention doesn’t look like God altering the world for us, but God altering us for the world.
We can’t all be leaders and prophets. We can all be followers of Christ. Surrendering our lives to God makes us the very instruments of divine intervention. If we want to see God at work in the world, let’s look inside first.
Comfort: God is available to us always…
Challenge: … but insisting on our own way can make God seem distant.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for being present in my life even when I don’t feel you. Amen.
Discussion: In what ways do you feel God has changed you to better serve the world?
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