I’ll take a snow day if I don’t have to make it up

What I really want, what would make me really and truly thrilled with winter each year is snow days without makeup school days.

I’m not trying to be greedy or demanding, truly I’m not.

We love our snow days and all the joy of the unplanned day off, the surprise family day complete with play time and hot cocoa, homemade cookies and Crock Pot soup and canceled evening activities so  we can all stay home and warm and relaxed in the evening.

But then, we wait for the phone call, the one that tells us, “oh by the way, now you have to come to school on President’s Day.”

Or, “we’re now shortening your spring break and lengthening your school year.”

It’s the payback we dread, the consequence for the rest and the fun.  It’s the bad news that we expect hanging over our heads the whole time our kids are jumping around the kitchen for joy.

My sixth grader says her science teacher actually delivers an annual speech that goes something like this: “Oh sure, you THINK you love snow days and you all want to do your snow dances and hope they close school because of a few flakes, but do you want to be in school all summer?  There’s  a price to pay!  You have to make those days up, you know!”

He’s right,  of course.  There is a price.  There is the bad news mixed in with the good that taints it a bit.

So, it’s outrageously impractical of me to ever hope we just get those snow days free and clear.  I know there’s not going to  be a superintendent’s message on my phone that says something like, “Have fun, everybody.  Be safe.  Enjoy the day.  This one’s on us!”

But that’s what I long for, and even though it can’t happen in the practical, day-in-day-out details of all these ordinary days, maybe it’s something I can have spiritually .

I want mercy, not just the trickle of it or the drip-drip-drip of it, but the outpouring of mercy.

I want the abundant grace, the kind that drenches you so much you can wring out your shirt and more comes  pouring out on your feet.

I want the overwhelming flood of God’s goodness poured out, rivers of His goodness just dumped all over us.

But instead, I  start expecting less from God, asking for less, praying for less, settling for less.

Faith isn’t really faith because I’m not believing Him to be wonderful or to be able or to be mighty.  I’m believing Him to fit into practical, average boxes and do ordinary, reasonable things.

When God gives me the blessing of a “snow day,” sometimes I wait for the bad news mixed in there somewhere.  I treat Him like He’s stingy or demanding or skimpy.

But God is abundant.

He is abundant in power, in mercy, in goodness, in peace, in love, and faithfulness.  That’s what Scripture says.  (Click here to read Bible Verses on the Abundance  of God)

He fills us up and satisfies our souls and leaves leftovers.

That’s what Jesus did when He fed the crowd of over  5000 who lingered on a hillside to listen to His teaching.  He took such a meager gift: a few loaves and fish, just a little boy’s packed lunch—and then he fed the multitude. They didn’t have to hand out crumbs at the end either.

No, they had leftovers.

And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost” (John 6:12 ESV).

Not just that one time.  Jesus did it all again.  He fed the 5000 one day and then on another day when he was teaching another crowd, he performed miraculous multiplication yet again, feeding over 4000 people with another handful of bread and fish.

And this is what happened there, too:

They ate and were filled. Then they collected seven large baskets of leftover pieces (Mark 8:8).

Jesus didn’t just do the miracle that was necessary or practical; He fed those people and left baskets of abundance and then he did it all again.

So, why do I discount God’s bigness? Why do I worry over my need as if I have to be the one to fill it and I have to be the one to figure it out?

Why do I fret when God gives good things, superstitiously thinking that bad is coming next?

His abundance offers us rest.  His abundance means we can trust Him and we can let Him do the work and we can worship and rejoice because our God is full-to-overflowing with the very mercy, grace, love, and goodness that we need.

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, (Psalm 31:19 ESV)

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power (Psalm 147:5 ESV).

 

Be Still and Know that He is God

Continuing the thought from yesterday, when we don’t see God at work and we’re disappointed, our faith struggles often involve three questions:

  • Does God see me?
  • Is He big enough to save me?
  • Does He love me enough to intervene?

Yesterday I was thinking about the first question.  Today, I’m moving on to the next one.

Is God big enough to save me?

Now, for most Christians this is an easy one.  Even as kids, we sing songs like:

“He’s got the whole world in His hands”

and

“Our God is so BIG, so STRONG and so MIGHTY.  There’s nothing my God cannot do!”

As quickly as we sometimes gloss over this question, sometimes deep down in the very depths of our being, we still see our circumstances as too much for our all-mighty God.

That’s one reason it’s so important to keep reminders of the times that God did save us and the miracles we have seen, so that when the circumstances tell us, “Your God isn’t big enough,” we can say—Well, He was big enough to save me from this impossible situation, and this one, and this one, and that one.  I’ve seen His hand.  I’ve experienced His power.  I know—no matter how bleak my reality seems—the true reality is that nothing is impossible with God.

It’s important to remind ourselves that:

The God who created the Universe with the power of His voice can create a future for you (Genesis 1; http://www.answersingenesis.org/)

The God who led the Israelites out of Egypt, through the wilderness and into Canaan can lead you into the Promised Land.

The God who parted the Red Sea and dried up the Jordan River will take you across the raging sea on dry ground.

The God who brought the widow’s son back to life can bring your hopes, your finances, and your relationships back from the grave (2 Kings 4).

The God who calmed the wind and the waves of the tempest will calm the storm that you are in and will not let you drown (Mark 4).

The bottom line is: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV).

That doesn’t mean that He always solves our problems the way we expect Him to or works as quickly as we might like.  Isaiah writes:  “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.  ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

We so often quote the verse “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV) without actually looking at the whole verse or the context of the chapter it is in.  I’ve heard people quote it all the time as an argument against loud worship music.  But, when you take the whole verse and its context, it doesn’t have anything to do with worship at all.  Instead, its real meaning directly addresses God’s might.

The full verse says:  “Be still and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This Psalm is essentially about war and what it’s like to face impossible conditions.  Despite his circumstances, the Psalmist says:

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:2)

And why aren’t they afraid?  They have every reason to give up.  All their circumstances tell them there is no hope.

But, they aren’t afraid because God is their “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (verse 1).  God tells them—“Be still—-You don’t have to stress about this.  I’ve got this covered.  I am God and I am big enough to save you.   I’m going to be exalted and glorified in this. ”

We can do the same now, no matter what circumstances we face.  We can choose to Be Still.  Be still and know that He is God—mighty and powerful.

Next up: Does God love me enough to intervene?

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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 © 2011 Heather King