It’s Friday, March 27. My name is Gina and it’s great to be back with you for another day of scripture reading, listening to the Lord and praying together.
Theme: Look for God in the ordinary
Scripture: John 7:1–2, 10, 25–30 (Living Bible)
In his Daily Study Bible commentary on this passage, William Barclay wrote that even though some of the people initially asked themselves, “Could this Jesus perhaps be the Messiah we’ve been waiting for?” almost immediately they dismissed the possibility.
Why? Because there was a saying among them that the Messiah would magically appear on the world stage as if from nowhere. His coming would be an unprecedented, miraculous event that no one could possibly misunderstand.
So, they reasoned, Jesus could not be the Messiah because they knew where and how he had grown up, just like any other ordinary person. Basically, they believed God is found only in the extraordinary, not in the ordinary.
Thanks be to God that this is not true! If we can’t find Him at work in the mundane moments of our ordinary lives, where can we hope to find Him?
Sometimes, Christians describe those rare, profound, life-changing encounters with the living God as “mountaintop experiences.” In those moments, we stand on some kind of spiritual summit and are overcome with an awesome view of God, not unlike how small and astonished we feel on a mountain peak, overwhelmed by the mountain’s ancient strength and colossal size.
The problem is that, as any mountain climber or hiker knows, we spend far more time climbing to that summit and then coming back down again, than we do enjoying and resting in the spectacular view on top. If we are so obsessed with the climactic moment on the peak, we will miss the fragile wildflowers, the scampering squirrels, the breeze whispering through the tree branches, and the half-hidden mushrooms that greet us along the way.
We mortals are ordinary; much of our lives seem mundane and repetitious. And our extraordinary God meets us here. He is at work in our everyday moments. He is there to greet us as we awaken on those sometimes dreary Mondays, when we feel that we are going to repeat this week everything we did last week. God is working in us through every futile and hopeless endeavor that we perform anyway, because it’s right. He walks beside us in every enormous task at which we relentlessly chip away, a little bit at a time, even though we worry we will never finish.
God might speak to us through a popular song on the radio, even if it wasn’t written or performed by a Christian. He might reveal to us a special truth when we least expect it, such as in a casual conversation with a friend, or while we are watching a movie.
When we engage in a quick purchase at the local market, God might use our friendly conversation to open the salesperson’s heart to the Holy Spirit, just a little. When we pick up a some trash on the street, when we smile and say “hi” at a passing stranger, when we let the car cut in front of us on the highway, or bring a hot meal to a sick neighbor, God is there and working.
The message that Jesus preached was essentially this: Get ready! The dazzling, extraordinary kingdom of God is breaking through into this ordinary, gritty, everyday world! In my very self, I am merging the two into one, so that every day is a day recreated in God’s glorious kingdom! (Mark 9:1 , Luke 11:20) In Luke 17, Jesus told the religious leaders, “Behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
It can be tempting to look for God in the drama or the crisis. When the prophet Elijah fled to a desert cave following an exhausting power encounter with God’s enemies, God met him there to encourage him. God instructed Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Behold, the LORD is about to pass by.”
The writer of 1 Kings 9 then tells what happened: “A great and mighty wind tore into the mountains and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.
“And after the fire came a still, small voice. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
Isn’t it beautiful that Elijah knew God so well that Elijah didn’t come out during the mighty wind, or the earthquake or the fire? He didn’t recognize God there. It was when he heard the still, small voice that Elijah sensed God’s presence, and went out to meet God.
When we have walked with God even a little while, we have the potential to recognize His still small voice each time He speaks. We can cultivate this sensitivity to God in our ordinary moments by simply getting to know God better every day. By practicing the regular study of scripture, and talking to God and listening to Him, we learn to see God in our ordinary moments. We can bring to God our questions, and because we keep our spiritual antennae raised, so to speak, later that day or week when He answers us, we will immediately know His answer. We will be sensitive to those subtle nudges to do something or call someone. Later, with the benefit of hindsight, we will look back to know it was the Spirit we heard, and be glad that we obeyed Him.
By inviting God into our ordinary, our lives can become truly extraordinary.
- Do I actively look for God each day in the ordinary moments and nudges?
- Where have I seen God at work in my life or speaking to me recently?
- What are three ways I could cultivate my awareness of God in my everyday moments?
Our miraculous, extraordinary God,
Thank You, Jesus, for stepping out of the wonders and glory of Your heavenly realm to burst into our ordinary, earthly world with Your divine activity. Because You walked our soil as fully human and fully God, in Your very presence You began the process of merging together the Kingdom of God with our sometimes repetitious and even painful earthly existence. Everywhere that Your kingdom breaks through into ours, You redeem our ordinary with Your extraordinary. You are creating and recreating, renewing, refreshing, and redeeming.
Teach us how to attune our hearts and minds to Your still, small voice, so that we don’t miss Your activity and guidance in our everyday moments. Help us to obey those little nudges, and to look for Your open doors and opportunities where You place them.
When we find ourselves in times of weariness, boredom, and futility, open our eyes to Your flashing beacons of kingdom light. In 2 Kings 6, Your prophet Elisha’s servant was filled with despair when he saw the power and strength of an advancing army. In fear, he cried to Elisha, “What will we do?” Elisha then prayed, “’Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes so that he could see horses of fire and chariots of fire everywhere upon the mountain!”
Like this servant, please open our eyes to Your glorious presence and Your heavenly army that is invisible to our earthly eyes, but at work everywhere all around us, all the time. Show us how to join You in all that You are doing to reclaim and redeem ourselves, our families, our communities, nations and our world.
We commit to persevere in the ordinary and mundane, trusting that Your extraordinary work continues. We love You, Jesus. Amen.
Today’s additional scripture is from: