WEEK FIVE, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK FIVE THEME: STEWARDSHIP
DAY FIVE THEME: SIMPLICITY AND STEWARDSHIP
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 11:25-30 (CEB)
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have shown them to babies. Indeed, Father, this brings you happiness. My Father has handed all things over to me. No one knows the Son except the Father. And nobody knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.
Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.'”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: In peaceful and ‘all is well’ times, it’s so easy to say, “Just trust God”, but it is so hard to do when the walls are crushing in on you and you don’t feel you have adequate experience or information to know which way to turn. It is like having vertigo and not being able to move forward due to all the spinning and the need to just throw up.
Truth: Chaos is not of or related to God. God does not throw us into chaos to see how we will do. He doesn’t give us vertigo and then laugh when we stumble and fall through the dizziness. That is NOT our God, our loving Parent who does and works all things for our good. However, chaos comes into our realm over and over again in varying ways and for varying reasons. It may be as close and personal as an unwanted diagnosis that could be life-threatening, certainly life altering…. or it could be the unpleasant and difficult times that a spouse, child or grandchild or loved one is experiencing that steals our joy and makes us panicky – makes life chaotic.
From Genesis onward in the Bible and particularly these verses from Matthew, God points us to His structured and ordered way. The creation story always is in my mind when I think of chaos. I love a good project, but sometimes cannot even begin because beginning is the hardest part. I know the desired outcome, but just become paralyzed with starting, fearful of my abilities to complete what I began, or that it won’t turn out the way I envisioned. But that is not a problem for God!
In the creation stories, He speaks it and it is done….and it is GOOD! In my peaceful and contented moments, I am confident and sure that God is in charge and that all is well. When my boat is rocking and chaos attacks, I have to close my eyes and remember and conjure up my faith to remind me of that peace and calm. Jesus’ words here in Matthew reminds me who will steer my rocking boat safely to its destination. I’m not in that boat alone, and my time is best spent focusing on the abilities of my Heavenly Father rather than the battering waves around me. Like Peter, I can walk on water and not be overcome with the waves as I focus on my Savior.
Ongoing saturation of God’s word into my life helps me be more and more able to re-establish that focus on a day to day basis as each chaotic situation pursues me. A good use of my time in chaotic situations is to remember all God has done, all God will do and be grateful – then release myself to be the vessel of his peace and perserverence in the midst of any storm. It requires time of quiet and reflection and prayer and it requires listening and following the paths presented. It is not going to be done perfectly and my clay feet will always get in my way, but God doesn’t let go and always redirects me back to Him as I release my willfulness and control.
Remembering a long life lesson – God is always at work, and God is always at work for good – helps me look forward and not sink. And when I’m fearful and sad and unsure – those loving arms of our Eternal Father are right there in all kinds of ways to encourage and comfort and strengthen as I look up above the chaos and remember Who is in control. Praise be to our God who goes ahead of us and beside us and behind us through all of life’s joys and and difficulties. There is nothing to hard for my Great God!
Thank you Jesus for your wonderful words of life and love! Help my focus! Amen!