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April 15

April 15 Devotional from Bill Marr

Greetings brothers and sisters. I would like to share a few thoughts in this dark time and, if I were to be honest, it is because they are things I wrestle with and maybe you do as well.

In Matthew 6:25-34  we read Jesus words:

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Sometimes we read that and we want to ask... Jesus, how can you say that?  I just lost my job! How am I going to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads?  Jesus - my child is really sick... Jesus - my marriage is falling apart... Jesus - self isolation is destroying my soul... Jesus  - i risk exposure to infection and death by COVID-19 everyday because it’s not just my job it’s my calling. Jesus - take those rose coloured glasses off and look around – we’re surrounded by thistles and dandelions, there’s not a rose to be seen.

Pause for a moment and think about His words. This was not wishful sentiment expressed by a dreamer, it was a revelation of inside information by the Designer, the Creator and Sustainer of humanity and our world. 

Jesus was not being overly optimistic or naive. This very same Jesus alerted his disciples to his own impending death - and resurrection- later on in the same gospel.  Jesus, better than anyone before or since, knows exactly how the world works and given that He is, as He claimed, equal with God and in fact IS God… His words bear heeding and acting upon.

So if GOD says “do not worry My child, relax, I’ve got this” and GOD, (as the Bible says) never lies... then it must be true, and if it’s true then God can be depended upon to do what He says.

Now in my life, “trust” or to be honest my level of trust... (if, in fact, less than full trust is trust at all)  exhibits itself in a wide variety of ways.  Our lives are comprised of a number of relationships, each unique and each coloured by the history of that specific relationship. In my work, I interact or have relationship with a large number of individuals, often over the course of many years.

Some individuals I can request help from, but have learned that a regular personal presence is wise or the outcome of my request deviates significantly from the results intended... and is that really trust at all?

Some individuals I request help from and their efforts yield something exactly like, or better than I imagined.  Those individuals I trust because they have demonstrated a consistent ability to see beyond the words and comprehend the purpose of my request and I desire to direct another request their way - just to see what they’ll do with it.

There is a third type of individual. Let me illustrate: I had a co-worker once with whom I merely discussed some possibilities I was considering for enhancements to our production process. I had not even put them to paper, they were just concepts floating around in my head that I verbalized to him to see what he thought. Three hours later he informed me that he had made it a reality.  I was speechless – he physically built my dream with nothing more than a few words to guide him...  no drawings, no directions, no supervision... just a thought expressed and understood was all it took for him to do that.

I have at times in my life treated God like He needed constant supervision or He’d go off plan. Yes, it’s foolish and wrong and even looking at it I feel stupid – I know it and you know it,  so why do we do it?  We do it because we fail to see God as that second or third individual (and He is that third individual even when we treat him as the first or second)

God knows our very thoughts (He knows when we worry and are not trusting) He knows our needs, He knows our wants.

Do you know what He wants? To be trusted, completely, He’s our loving concerned Father.

Dear Father, forgive us for so often failing to grasp the reality of Your love, the reality of Your complete comprehension of our needs and Your eagerness to meet them, the reality that above any and all others, we should trust You and that it should be without reservation. Forgive us for whining about our wants and blaming You when our preferences aren’t met when all the while You are constantly providing the things we need to live and thrive.  Forgive us when we blame You for the consequences of our own foolish choices.

We thank You for Your oh so patient parenting, for repeatedly picking us up, cleaning up our messes, doing the same lesson over and over. We thank You for Your tender mercy and we tearfully acknowledge the wonder of Your vast ocean of grace that rescues and revives us from all of our failures. So many times as Your earthly children, we are influenced by what our eyes see and what our hearts want, we are so easily distracted and drawn away from the truth about You. Please open our spiritual eyes, strengthen our faith and our trust. Let each of us this day cast our cares upon You and fully trust You to deal with them without coming back and trying to pry them from your arms to fret over them once again. Bring to our minds Your faithfulness to us when we do return in our childish foolishness, turn our minds back to your unfailing promises... and they are unfailing, not one has ever proven false. We want to trust You today without reservation for You alone are Trustworthy and True.

You alone are God and we adore You as our God and Father through our recognition and acceptance of the wonderful gift of your Son Jesus who is also called the Alpha and Omega, Trustworthy and True, the Prince of Peace.

May His peace flood each of your souls this day as you trust Him completely with whatever burdens weigh you down

Amen

Your brother in Christ, Bill Marr