Hiding the Word:
Ask anyone in my town, in my state, along my coastline. It’s hot.
It’s the subject of everyone’s Facebook posts. What’s my status? Sweltering, melting, sweaty, sticky. Hot.
The weather monopolizes our conversation, dominating our small talk. How are you doing? And then we look, really look at the person and realize there’s no need to even ask. They’re wiping their hand across their forehead, pushing away sticky strands of hair and catching droplets of sweat before they drip in our eyes.
And it’s all we can think about. Forget how we’re feeling or how our jobs are going or how our kids are enjoying their summer. All we know right now is that we’re just too plain hot.
But this morning I sat by the side of the local swimming pool while my daughters took swimming lessons. Parents on benches against the wall fanned themselves, but the kids were dipped in coolness. They were comfortable, happy, relaxed and refreshed.
Even when they stepped out into the heat, my dripping wet girls were still cool from their time in the water.
Watching my daughters so refreshed despite the heat around them, I saw a reminder of God’s satisfying grace, His presence and the cooling comfort of His Word amidst the heat of our lives–the stress, the busyness, the fires of attack. He’s the Living Water, from which we drink deep and long, enjoying the true quenching of our up-to-now insatiable thirst.
In his famous sermon, Peter promised the crowd that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:20). We throw ourselves (belly-flopping or diving or jumping into a cannonball) into God and, totally immersed in His presence, we are refreshed and renewed.
So, this week, I’m meditating on a verse that reminds me that Christ is in me, my source of joy and hope and peace regardless of the heat of life:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38 ESV).
Originally posted on May 2, 2011
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 2:9
I love sharing in this devotional ministry with you, hearing what God is teaching you and how it connects up with the verses and thoughts on my heart. Journeying together with you these past few months has been a blessing to me. But, To be honest, there are still some days I struggle with knowing what God has called me to do right here and now in my life. Insecurities can do that to us, trap us in a pit of questions and uncertainty and prevent us from moving forward in obedience.
You see a great deal of the time I feel ill-equipped to sit across the computer from you and share from my quiet time moments. I’m no bestselling author, conference speaker, or Greek scholar. This is just simple me being real with you, a girl totally in love with God’s Word and how alive it is, how relevant for our lives, how powerful to change our hearts and minds. These are the confessions of my heart, but maybe you’ve felt some of these insecurities in your life, too.
Have you ever felt a little insufficient? A little overwhelmed by the task God’s given you and a little underwhelmed by your ability to perform it? A little intimidated by the confident ministry of those around you?
Today, I’m thinking about insufficiency, mostly because that’s how I feel at this moment. I’m sitting at my kitchen table after a hectic morning of running errands, forgetting something at the store, heading back to another store, returning all the library books and then finding one more book hidden in the car after I got home, and finally running late to pick up my daughter from school.
My youngest girl dug into the Easter candy that mysteriously moved from the inaccessible high counter where I had put it onto the very accessible floor. (Do “Not Me” and “I Don’t Know” live at your house, too?) There are candy wrappers dotted across the carpet. Fortunately, she doesn’t actually like to eat the candy; she just enjoys unwrapping it, so next to the candy wrappers is the chocolate all lined up in a perfectly straight row. (That chocolate is still good, right? Because I totally just ate some.)
The laundry is spinning in the washer and dryer and the clean clothes are piling up on the sofa all fresh and warm and in desperate need of folding and putting away.
Meanwhile, I have not yet exercised this morning, but I am excusing myself because I’ve been coughing up my lungs themselves for the last few days.
So, sick, stressed, tired, forgetful, surrounded by mess, and feeling bad for not exercising, I have waved the white flag and retreated to the kitchen table for some time with God. And I need it because I’m so insufficient for all this.
Fortunately for me, my favorite Gospel event is all about insufficiency! Jesus had been teaching a crowd of people all day and healing the sick among them.
By the time evening came, the disciples were worried. They told Jesus, “’This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’” Matthew 14:13-14 (NIV).
The disciples certainly didn’t have enough food for a crowd of over 5000 people, but Andrew did find one little boy with a small lunch: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:9 (NIV).
“How far will they go” indeed?! This boy’s lunch was utterly insufficient. It probably embarrassed Andrew to even mention it. Yet, this little boy with a lunchbox willingly and in great faith gave 100% of what he had to Jesus. Even though it was insufficient, he trusted that Jesus could use his offering.
Certainly, this boy could have worked in his own strength to catch some more fish or bake some more bread. He could have collected small change from everyone in the crowd and trekked into town to order take-out.
Still, despite his best efforts and hard work, he would never have provided enough in his own strength. Likewise, I can’t be enough in my own strength either. If I’m relying on my talent, skills, hard work, and ingenuity, I’ll just fail. I can only give my all to Jesus and trust that He will multiply my offering.
Besides, it was the insufficiency of the boy’s gift that allowed Jesus to be glorified. If that boy had somehow gathered enough food for the crowd, the story would have been about his ingenuity and generosity instead of Jesus’ compassion and miraculous power.
Even if every attendee had packed a little snack and the disciples had pooled the resources to form a buffet line, Christ would then be a master organizer or administrator—not a God of compassion who sees our need and provides for us in abundance through His great power.
Our insufficient offerings give Jesus the opportunity to be glorified.
God never expects us to be sufficient in our strength and abilities. If we are strong enough, together enough, talented enough, smart enough, or equipped enough in our own strength, there’s no room for God to show off in our lives and receive the glory He deserves. The gifts we bring just become less about Him and more about us.
And let me assure you that God is powerful in our weakness. Sure, my day has been crazy and I don’t feel up to the task of managing it all, but after some time with God’s Word and some moments spent sharing with you, I can look around with new eyes and see Him at work.
My beautiful girls have just bounced through the kitchen after playing outside on a bright and sunny day. They were chased in by an “enormous, gigantic, ugly black spider” and now they are cuddling together all stretched out and relaxing, little blond curls and wisps of hair falling out of ponytail holders and hair clips. My baby girl fell asleep peacefully for a nap, tired from all of her effort spent unwrapping chocolate and the house is quiet for these few moments. A candle is burning. The last load of laundry is spinning away. One of the caterpillars we’ve been studying just emerged from her chrysalis and is waving her new wings back and forth, testing them out, feeling the weight of them.
God is always sufficient in our insufficiency.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King