When I was a kid I got growing pains in my legs especially at night when I had nothing else to think about. At first my parents gave me tums (for the calcium). Then my mom heard from someone that a shot of apple cider vinegar and honey (and maybe something else) would help.
It helped. Even if I did hurt, I stopped complaining to keep from having to drink that vile concoction. But what really helped was time – I stopped growing.
Physically that is good. But to stop growing spiritually is disastrous.
Your body is not meant to be 10 feet tall or 500 pounds. But we are all designed to be spiritual giants. People do all sorts of things to keep growing physically – like eat green veggies and avoid the sweets, drink milk and avoid caffeine. Maybe the strategies to grow taller work, and maybe they don’t, but what is our strategy to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? What should be seeking out in our spiritual diet? And what should we be avoiding?
Maybe it is time to give it some thought. But, I promise, apple cider vinegar and honey won’t work.
I was signing a card for my nephew’s seventh birthday yesterday. It has a maze on the front (don’t tell him because he hasn’t seen it yet!), and inside the maze was blown up for the background print. The problem was the inside maze was enlarged so big that you couldn’t see the beginning or the end.
That is what living life without God is like. It’s a maze but you don’t know where you began or where you are going. So you wander around finding lots of dead ends, and even when you seem to be going the right way…it could be the wrong way because…where were we going again?
But in the maze of life God makes all the difference. He is the starting point: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5), and He is the ending point, “I will ransom you from the power of the grave…” (Hosea 13:14) and “thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Sure, life still has messes and dead ends and crazy U-turns, but in Jesus life has peace and purpose and unbelievable joy because the maze is passing away and the allure of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17).
At church this morning, I visualized the bronze snake in Exodus being raised up – just like Jesus was. God is and has been giving us clues throughout human history on how to escape this trap of sin and death and hell.
Maybe God feels like me sometimes when I plan an escape room. I make clues and think, “Oh, I’m sure they’ll get this.”
And sometimes they get it right away, but often it takes much longer than I expected.
Maybe God feels like that – “Surely, they will understand this! Jesus is total fulfillment of the sacrificial system. He is the only Son, the Son of promise, slain – like Abraham’s son. Jesus Christ is the ultimate completion of the bronze snake.”
The snake was the embodiment of the curse. Jesus became the curse for us. Those who looked toward to the snake were healed. Those who believe in Jesus are spiritually healed. The snake was the only way to be saved. Jesus is the only way to be right with God. Now that’s a clue.
Lord, help us take it.
How long has it been since you did a science experiment?
I didn’t mean to do one, but I was taking a bath and noticed a strange shadow on the bottom of the tub. It looked like curly yarn (and I am not in the habit of knitting in the powder room). Then, I saw it – there was a hair floating on the surface of the water; and as it broke the surface tension, it cast a much bigger shadow than I would have ever expected.
One hair made a difference.
And if it could make a difference, how much more could God use you to make a difference?
Your voice may be quiet. Your gifts may be small. Your influence may be limited. But even a single hair casts a shadow.
I saw an article a few weeks ago that proclaimed it had found the secret to what all 3-year-olds want for Christmas. I didn’t read it because that is not a secret! Everyone knows what 3-year-olds want for Christmas.
Leave off the expensive tech and toys because everyone three (or maybe four) and under is just as happy with the wrapping paper and the plastic mold the toy came in. Their Christmas is complete if they get sugar and shiny things.
Actually, that is what most people want – things that taste good and look good. But the best gifts don’t always meet those criteria. Getting a fancy watch that tracks your elevation change is a “great gift” but sock are “boring”. But which one will last longer? Which gift will be the most useful? Which one says “I love you” – the expensive gift you could give to anyone or the one that the person knew to get you because they’ve watch your socks grow more and more holes over the last year?
We seem to do this a lot with God’s gifts. We pray for the big, shiny things even while taking the “socks” for granted. Sometimes we even grow angry because the sweet gifts of life go to someone else. Other times we get discouraged because we aren’t getting what we want. So quickly we forget that even during the hard times: we never ran out of socks.
So here’s to 2021, the year we learn to be grateful for socks!
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.