Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be Encouraged... I am!

"When nothing is happening, something is happening... because God is always working." 
&
"Where God is most hidden, He is most revealed."

I first heard those statements from Reuben Welch in an Old Testament Class.  Reuben was reflecting on the opening of Exodus.  If you go there you'll discover God is curiously absent.  Everything is falling apart.  Joseph has died, the pharaoh who knew him has died and suddenly the Hebrews find themselves enslaved.  Where is God?

In the midst of all this the Hebrew's numbers increase... so the midwives are ordered by pharaoh to kill any boy born to a Hebrew woman.  Thankfully the midwives balk. This results in Moses being placed in the bulrushes, where pharaoh's daughter finds him.  There are hints that God is working, but it's only visible to us because hindsight is 20/20.  I mean the actions of those midwives changed nothing of the terrible realities faced by the Hebrew people. Moses' parents placing him in the bulrushes appears to change nothing.  It appears that God is hiding, that He's absent.

Maybe that's why Moses takes things into his own hands.  He ends up killing an Egyptian and being found out, runs for his life into the desert. Where is God in this?  We're told that God heard the groaning of the people, but 40 years pass and NOTHING...  it would appear that God has forgotten his promises... that he's absent without leave.  YET the reality is God is working.  The book of Exodus is a story of GOD's action not the actions of a people.
What does this have to do with where I find myself?  Everything.

You see I wake up each morning and I remind myself that God is at work.  Even when I can't see Him, even when it appears He's hidden.  You see He's active in ways we cannot imagine.  We might look at the actions of those midwives(we're told they fear God more than Pharaoh) and see something very small, yet in reality GOD was working in huge ways. I don't want to miss that, do you?

Yesterday I walked into town.  I was praying as I walked, asking God to lead me.  Not wanting to miss HIM! We had just returned from a great mission weekend in Belfast.  I was sharing with our church in Northern Ireland the call of God to be missional.  It was a tremendous weekend.  I shared about the work we're here to do in Ireland.  We shared about the vision and strategy that God is giving us... but back in Wicklow those big dreams are replaced with the small realities.  Relationships take time. Ministry is not like instant oatmeal.  It requires time.  I was looking to connect with some individuals.  It didn't happen. Yet as I walked along the Quay I discovered a center designed to help troubled teens.  I was going to walk by, but felt impressed to walk in.  I did and for the next hour I had a great conversation with a couple of ladies about what they do and the challenges they face.  It was a small thing, but as I left that place I was encouraged.  Not because anything GREAT happened, but because I connected with a couple of ladies who are seeking to make a difference in the community I call home, and because I listened to God.

As I left that center I was reminded... "When nothing is happening something is happening, because God is always working."   Praise God!  He is at work.  I loved the picture of the flower.  Did you notice the crack in the concrete?  It's such a small thing, but it's cracks that bring down the walls that divide and alienate us from God and each other.

Maybe you're struggling to see God at work in your church or even your life today! Can I encourage you!  "Where God is most hidden... HE is most revealed."

Don't believe me... check out a manger or a cross.  These are two places where in the midst of darkness the light shines brightly.   We can trust God to do the impossible as we sow... remember it's God who brings the increase.