What to do When You’re in Over Your Head

No matter what the cause, when fighting, yet failing, just to keep our heads above water, desperation sets in, as it did for Jonah. What he did, despite the shame and regret for the error of his ways, in the face of what would seem to be their just consequences, reveals a key truth about the nature of God and Jonah’s relationship with Him.

A Christmas Prayer at the Manger

For the believer, the Christmas season is always an invitation to revisit the humble manger scene in which the Savior was first born into our lives. One of the great wonders of Christmas is the miracle of our own salvation. What can compare in eternal significance to when we first came on bended knee before our Lord Jesus and humbly offered the gift of our very lives to Him? Pause now and think back to that time in your life, that day when you first experienced the awe of meeting Jesus face to face and found your soul unalterably changed. Recall to mind the beckoning circumstances that drew you to that penitent place of recognizing your need for a Savior and yielding to His Lordship to rescue you from your own sinful nature and self-destructive lifestyle. Do you remember the immense relief and accompanying joy that washed over your soul as you were given a “new birth into a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3 NIV)?

Revisiting the humble beginnings and immediate transformative evidences of our initial encounter with Jesus is a key to what the Bible refers to as “restoring the joy of our salvation.” It is an all too common experience for Christians to forget the wonder and import of our redemptive experience. Life, with its worldly lusts of the flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life has a way of dulling our spiritual sensibilities and robbing us of our devotion for Jesus. It is worth noting that the early church faced the same temptations and tendencies to a waning zeal for God.

Rooting out the Pharisee

Spiritual health is a lot like physical health. Quality is often the primary concern and measure. It is not enough simply to acknowledge we have it, but the overarching goal is that we nurture good health and avoid bad health. Good health is the underlying presumption for our continued mobility, accomplishment and long life. That is true for good spiritual health as well.

And so we have in this parable an illustration of both good versus bad spirituality. We are told about two men who make a point of coming to the temple to be close to God and communicate with Him. That, in and of itself, is noteworthy if not commendable. Most people who attend church on a Sunday morning would say that is the reason they are there. And most people when they leave want to feel as if what they have done has been acceptable and pleasing to God. To the unenlightened participant however, there is no way of knowing who was nurturing good spiritual health and who wasn’t. But God knows because He sees the heart.

Despise not the day of small things!

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. Zechariah 4:10 (ESV)

Great things all share one thing in common. They once were all small. Great countries, cities, companies, families, inventions and accomplishments, yes even the people behind them, all began as small things. In their smallness they were once vulnerable and dependent upon favorable conditions to sustain them. They exist today because someone envisioned a preferred future for them beyond their smallness. Someone in fact actually took such delight in their smallness that they were willing not only to patiently endure their smallness, but to invest their very lives in nurturing that smallness to grow toward greatness. That is precisely what God has done for us.

Although smallness takes many forms, there is always a redemptive quality about it when viewed as a beginning. It can be a small bank account, a small talent, a small job, a small home, a small circle of friends or even a small heart of love and compassion.

Smallness at its irreducible minimum is merely a seed thought or idea. And as with any good seed that envisions its beholder with the possibility of things to come, it engenders hope.

God loves smallness. So should we. Smallness is not something to be despised or merely to be endured. It is something in which we are meant to genuinely rejoice.

It might be said that smallness is next to Godliness. Mother Theresa underscored this truth when she said “We can do no great things, only small things with great love. . . Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” The truth is God’s plan for great things always begins with small things – an act of love, a seed-thought promise, a baby in the bulrushes or a man with a vision holding a plumb line.

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