Two of the most famous miracles performed by Jesus were the feeding of five thousand and walking on water to comfort his fearful disciples. In the book of John, the morning after he had performed these miracles, Jesus had a conversation with a group of people whom he fed the day before. Jesus’ response to a simple question hit me between the eyes like a pop up mole in a carnival whack-a-mole game.
People, witnessing and experiencing the miracles of Jesus began following him, even getting in boats and crossing a lake to find him. But Jesus saw through their actions to their hearts. After holding them accountable to following him because he gave them something (food) Jesus told them to not seek the perishable, but to seek the eternal life that comes from him. What followed is the exchange above.
Most of my life as a believer I have struggled to make decisions because I desperately want to do what God wants me to do; however, I over think and get in my own way. What God wants is really very simple. Believe in the one he has sent.
Humans muddy the waters, but Jesus cuts right to the heart of what is important. I do believe. I also work at the relationship; I learn, I read, and I listen. Then, no matter where I go or what I do I know I am pleasing God.
Don’t overthink…believe. Believe as little children believe.
What do these things have in common? Jesus spoke about them all in the twelfth chapter of Luke. Well, he didn’t speak about me personally, rather he was speaking to his disciples. However, all who believe he is the Son of God; God made flesh who walked the earth then was persecuted and executed only to rise in three days to complete his purpose then ascended into heaven, we, too are his disciples. So what did he say?
I live with anxiety. I take medication so the symptoms are under control but my mind still can grab a hold of some thought or situation and go crazy creating scenarios that are not real. They are products of my imagination. Jesus very clearly says “Don’t be afraid. Do not worry.” So why do we live in fear?
It is one of the subjects spoken of the most in the Bible. I think it is because God knew that humanity, separate from Him, would try to survive on their own. Think of a small child who wants to venture out into the world, but is cautious; they will only go where their parent goes to keep them safe. Without God’s presence the world is a very scary place.
Sparrows & Me
Sparrows seem like happy little birds. They hop around urban areas scavenging for food and zip about in the sky from bush to bush hiding from predators. I have always taken great joy in watching sparrows go about their business.
Jesus uses sparrows to teach us how much we are loved and that God is with us always. As great teachers do, he used ordinary things to illustrate his message. Sparrows are small, prolific, commonplace and in the food chain, fairly helpless.
Maybe it is the small and helpless part of this that strikes so close to home for me. I am small and helpless – literally, I am a small person with little ability to protect myself. But I know that God loves me more than the sparrows and “the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.” This verse, Luke 12:7, is not the only time sparrows are used to show us how valuable we are to God. With a love like that is it no wonder that we are told over and over, “Do not worry.”
Worry = Broken Connection
Whenever I find myself worrying about the future…what I should do or where I should go, how will something work out…I know I have become disconnected. Worry comes when I have let go of Jesus’ hand and begun relying on my own knowledge and wisdom. Just like that toddler who must have their parent with them to feel safe and secure, I must stay connected to Jesus. He is my everything; he is my savior, role model, teacher, comforter and Lord. Without him my life has no value or meaning.
So, I start my day here and know that what comes next will all work for my own good no matter what that may be.
Twenty five years later my second Beetle came into my life. It was a long dry spell.
For reasons I cannot remember, my husband had taken me to work and picked me up one day in 2002. I believe that we were down to one functioning vehicle at the time. On our usual route home we pass a VW dealership and I ALWAYS cast a longing look in its direction as I dreamed of owning another Beetle. This time it would be the New Beetle. On this day the car gods were with me, for as I turned my head to look, there sat the car of my dreams.
Knowing how hard it is to find this car, I convinced him to exit the freeway, turn around and go to the dealership. We did not leave that night until around 9:00 when I drove this car home.
Love And Loss
We leased the car for three years. At the end of the lease term I simply could not give it up, so we refinanced the balance and this baby was mine. Somewhere in the fourth year, I neglected a very important tune up and the result was nothing short of tragic. A belt broke, pistons jammed and the engine was destroyed. It would have cost us $3,000 to repair it and no manner of pleading got my husband to agree. I believe I would still own this car had we done this, but that is for another day. He still considers VWs “a piece of junk” because of this episode. I gave up trying to change his mind.
So, here we are fifteen years later. VWs are still “a piece of junk” in his opinion, and I am still in love with this iconic little car. I have been driving a 2004 Toyota Camry for more years than I care to count and a year ago the air conditioning went out on it. I was housebound before COVID-19 because who wants to drive a non air conditioned car in Houston Texas? Exactly!
Again I was faced with a husband who did not want to put money into a car. This time I agreed. We procrastinated. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew I didn’t want to have the “piece of junk” conversation again. I strategically wore him down. I was patient. I made do, running my errands in the early morning. I used his car when it was necessary. Then he got a new job and was going to have to travel. Bingo! My moment had arrived. I had laid the groundwork and now I could reap the harvest.
Having subscribed to every used car app available searching for a newer model Beetle, I waited. They became hard to find after Volkswagen stopped making them again. I knew that I would eventually find one, and I did. Thanks to my brother’s clever brain, my car has a name. I am now the proud driver of June Bug. She is a small brown Beetle that enables me to flit and fly all over town in cuteness and air conditioned comfort.
It took less than a month for my illusion of vehicular bliss to crack. What began as just a small starburst in the corner, quickly spread. It seemed as though each time I glanced over at it, the line grew a bit longer. By the time I arrived home, it had spread to over half of the windshield. Thanks to Houston traffic I had a long time to ponder this new crack in my life.
Isn’t it always the way life works? We are just living our life and ping, here comes a bit of bad news, or even just a little something that throws us off our game. Our vision and line of sight is not quite the same. It becomes skewed by this change. Looking off in the distance is suddenly a little blurry. In the case of the windshield, I just had to move my focus just a bit. Move my eyes up or down to avoid the crack and I could see clearly again.
For many life right now is not merely a cracked windshield but life as it had been is shattered. Everything is jumbled confused and scary. There is no way to look through to a clear future. My heart breaks for each and every person for whom this is true. I have no platitudes, no pat answers that will make everything suddenly crystal clear. That is not how it works. But, if you can lean on God and concentrate on one tiny piece of glass in the shattered mess of life, that faith is all God needs to bring everything else back into focus. Like the mustard seed, all it takes is just one small thing to hold on to; just one piece at a time.
I’m getting a new windshield tomorrow. I pray that your tiny shard of glass becomes a shinning clear vision of what lies next for you.