While riding with a friend last week we were treated to a double rainbow after a rainstorm. I joked, “It must be a sign. What is God saying to us?” Then, just as quickly, laughing I said, “Sure, it is just sunlight refracted through moisture in the atmosphere.” Well, yes, that is the explanation of rainbows but why not take the gift that it is, a beautiful splash of color in a storm-darkened sky? At our Vacation Bible School each year, we teach the children to do “God-sightings.” We encourage them to look at life and see where God is at work. The responses are often simple. “My cat climbed on my lap.” “My Mom made me cookies.” “I found a pretty rock next to the sidewalk.” God or just life? You decide!
Here’s my point this Monday morning. As we rush off to work let’s not just see what is right in front of our face, let’s pray for eyes to see the Lord at work. We do not have to become gullible or foolish, but we do need the heart of a child. Here is how Jesus spoke to this. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:13-15, NLT) We can become so ‘adult’ that the Spirit of God can pass by and we will miss the moment.
Does God only show up in rainbows, butterflies, in the church sanctuary, or in a baby’s giggles? You know the answer to that. He is also found in the face of a homeless man, present in our greatest sorrows, and at work in our moments of trials. God is Omnipresent, but not always perceived! He is working in the world and in us but sometimes outside of our vision because we simply do not look up, take it in, and become a part of what He is doing. I have one huge regret from the first 40 years of my life- an obsession with checking off the tasks on the urgent list of ‘to do’s’ caused me to miss out on so many of life’s miracles. My face was often so close to the task, I was oblivious to the wonder happening around me.
With this realization, I am becoming less eager to ‘finish a job’ and instead I desire to know what God is doing, to understand the stories that are waiting to be discovered, to see God at work in the lives of people with whom I work and live and love. In learning to be a little more flexible, I am finding more wonder, greater joy. And I confess that old habits die hard! I still can get so goal-oriented I forget the joy of the journey. God teach us to wait on you!
John tells us about some people committed to their pre-conceptions, gripped by their ideas about what God wanted. They were blind to the ‘kingdom of God’ however! They missed a miracle that happened right in front of their eyes. “Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed— lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!”
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! What an amazing development, a cause for celebration and rejoicing, right? After 38 years a man is walking, whole, on his feet! You would think that everybody who saw him would be infected with his joy, overcome with his excitement. And, you would be wrong! Read on –
“But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! It’s illegal to carry that sleeping mat!”
He replied, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.’ ”
“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”” (John 5:2-14, NLT)
I am just blown away by their myopia, their fixation with the rules, that robbed them of the wonder. They didn’t see a man just healed after 38 years of being crippled. They only saw a man carrying his bedroll in violation of their religious traditions! That was not the only time in Jesus’ life when He ran into people who missed the miracle. In the 12th chapter of Matthew, we are told that he healed a man with a deformed hand. There, too, the Pharisees only saw that He did it on the Sabbath, in violation of their prohibition against doing ‘work,’ so instead of rejoicing that a man was healed, they “discussed plan to kill Jesus.”
Yes, that is how easy it is to miss the miracle when we’re consumed by our own pre-conceived ideas. I’ve missed my share of miracles, too, because I was focused on my plans, my ideas, my needs and unwilling to enter into the experience of another person in a way that let me feel their wonder, share their joy (or sorrow), or see what God was really doing in and/or through them.
Today, the God of wonder is at work! And He will be working in your neighborhood, and mine, too. The question is, will we perceive His work? Will we rejoice with those in whom He is working?
Here’s a word from the Word. It is Jesus’ own words of frustration with those who could not, would not, see what He was doing. Let these words challenge you to celebrate the wonder, to open your eyes to the miracles of the hand of God who is here, now!
“How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.
“Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida!
If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you. And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around.” (Matthew 11:16-23, The Message)
This Monday morning, keep an open heart to the Spirit.
Listen for the blowing of the Wind.
Look for the hand of God.
God-sightings! Let’s see and live in the Kingdom (under the rule) of God!
Lord of all creation-
Of water, earth, and sky;
Heavens are your tabernacle,
Glory to the Lord on high!
Early in the morning,
I will celebrate the Light.
When I stumble in the darkness,
I will call Your name by night.
God of wonders beyond our galaxy,
You are holy, holy!
The universe declares your majesty,
You are holy, holy!
Lord of heaven and earth!
Lord of heaven and earth!
God Of Wonders- Steve Hindalong
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