I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to “getting” things. In fact, many obvious (to the general public) things seem to fly right over my head.
“Duh!” was a word that got thrown in my direction more than once (okay, a lot more than once) as I was growing up.
It may not be what the “cool kids” say anymore, but since my ability to “get” things hasn’t improved all that much, I still hear it in my head on a regular basis.
Like a few weeks ago when Tim and I were walking with our three girls. Our youngest, Anna, was “too tired to walk another step”, so her Daddy picked her up and started carrying her on his shoulders.
As we walked along, having a lively discussion about our summer plans, I looked over at Anna and noticed that instead of using her arms to hold on to Tim, she was using them to tickle his ears and to turn the top of his head into a drum.
I smiled for a brief second at the cuteness, but then my joy turned to panic. Oh my goodness, she’s not holding on to him! She could fall!
And before I even knew it, these words came out of my mouth: “Anna! You need to hold on tighter to your Daddy!”
Of course, my freak out quickly ended with a realization:
DUH! Tim is a good dad! Why in the world would I ever think that our three-year-old’s ability to stay safely on his shoulders depended on her?
The problem was that I just couldn’t see it. From my limited perspective a few feet behind them, I could not see his hand gripped tightly around her leg, keeping her securely on his shoulders, no matter what her arms were doing.
So often this very same limited perspective occurs in my relationship with Jesus. And maybe this happens to you, too.
We pray. We ask. We wait. We expect. We want to see God work in our lives. We want to feel God working in our lives.
Unfortunately, what happens ends up looking more like this: Let’s say we ask for peace. Then, when we do not feel peace the way we expected to feel peace, we say, “God is not working in my life”.
But, duh! Do I really need to see or feel something to know it’s happening?
The truth is, I rarely just feel God. Rather, I know what He has said in His word and I trust that He is faithful to His word. Which means I know that He is with me. Which means I know that His Spirit is working in my life. And therefore I feel Him.
And so, when I ask for peace – instead of trying to muster up some feelings of peace from within myself, instead of sitting around waiting for it to happen, instead of living in defeat that it’s “not working”, I remember what my very good Father has promised. That “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
I already have the peace I am asking for. And the funny thing is that when I remember and acknowledge that simple truth (duh!), I then feel the peace.
“His divine power” at work within those of us who have trusted Jesus to be our Savior is not dependent on our ability to see or feel that power. And, “That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:19-20)
Whether or not you see or feel it, THAT power is at work in you.
In his notes on the miracle of the resurrection, Charles Spurgeon remarks at how blind the religious leaders and so many others in that time were in not believing that Jesus had risen from the dead.
But he follows it up with a challenge that we, as followers of Jesus today, can’t ignore: “Blinder yet are they who believe that Jesus rose, and yet do not put their trust in Him.”*
If we believe that God had the power to raise Christ from the dead – how can we not believe and trust that He is still using that very same power in our lives, even if we can’t see it?
I’m so glad our God is not a cool kid standing there holding His hands up, staring at me and saying that dreaded word. Yes, it’s all so obvious to Him, but He knows that we don’t always “get it”. And He never gets annoyed with us, never condemns us, and never tires of patiently leading us by His Spirit into all truth.
Whether we feel it or not.
*Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible, notes on Matthew 27:65-66