Small Part, Huge Significance

 

Sitting on the porch at Common Grounds on a rainy morning. One week of classes left. Trying to enjoy the little things, especially when I only have 23 days left in Waco.

As I’m reading through Luke, God has reiterated that every part of the Bible, big or small, has significance. I don’t know how many times I have read or heard the “Christmas Story” in Luke 2, too many to count. It can be so easy to skim through it and think I know the full story, but I am corrected every time.

Normally when I’m reading Luke 2, I find myself stopping after the shepherds visit Jesus. If you continue reading on, you’ll find that there were two important prophecies that happen when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple. Simeon and Anna were both elders in the community. Simeon immediately recognized that Jesus was the son of God. “… [Anna] never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2: 37) If you did not spend time reading past verse 20, you would never realize that these prophecies are very important to Jesus’ early life. They also show us that we can learn a lot from listening to the older people in our lives.

How many times do we look over people in our own lives and think they only played a small role in our lives? Every person we meet and get to know will teach us something in some way.

I once heard a quote that said, “You are part of a puzzle in someone’s life. You may never know where you fit, but someone’s life many never be complete without you in it.”

What if we approached every relationship this way? Our lives and experiences, good or bad/ small or big, are like puzzle pieces. God sees the whole puzzle in all of its glory and we only see the pieces as we collect them. God sees our significance. We may never know the impact someone is going to make on our lives or us on theirs until weeks, months, or years later.

I encourage you to love on others well, even when you think they only play a small and insignificant part in your life. Trust me friends, they are significant.

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Steadfast Love

“No one gives you any warning what day a wave’s going to slam into your whole world and everything you know is going to take a complete 180.”

Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever struggled with something? Yeah, me too. Maybe you are struggling right now, wondering why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people. Struggles are very hard to understand.

During trials, it is so easy to question why God is putting us through these things. Or better yet, some people even turn away from God during a trial. I am going to be honest with you… lately, I have been struggling so much. I have been through several trials and keep asking God “WHY?!” For a while, I tried to just keep myself busy and not think about anything. I was constantly on the go, studying, working out, etc. When I stopped for just a second and let my mind run wild, I realized how empty I felt.

I am broken. I am hurting. I am lost.

When I humbled myself and wrote those three sentences down, I lost it. Slowly, I realized I have two choices… 1) run towards God or 2) completely turn my back on Him. I decided to run towards God and seek the answers to my questions.

I was on Instagram one morning and saw Christy Nockles (singer at Passion City Church) had put up a picture with Lauren Chandler (Pastor Matt Chandler’s wife). Supposedly, Lauren had just come out with a new devotional called Steadfast Love. I looked it up on Amazon and decided I needed it immediately, even if I didn’t fully understand what this devotional was about at the time.

Psalm 107:1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Once I started reading it, I found out Steadfast Love is all about Psalm 107 and how to approach the twists and turns life hands us. “When everything takes a 180—take the 107.” If you read Psalm 107, it basically says to receive help from God, we have to humble ourselves and swallow our pride and cry out to Him. God wants to show us His love when we are broken. However, in order to do that, He has to make us fully aware of our need to depend totally upon Him in every situation.

In times of brokenness and hurt, it may seem like God is distant and absent from our lives. When we are questioning why He is putting us through this pain, we may think He does not love us. This is the complete opposite. He is right there, waiting for us to surrender ourselves completely to Him. He loves you and is going to bring you through whatever hard situation you are going through right now. Trust in His mercy and grace.

Lamentations 3:24, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

So the answer to the “why?” is knowing that God gives you strength to get through hard situations and to trust Him, even when you don’t understand why you are going through a hard time. We have to be content in Christ and know that He is Lord through good and bad days. Our God is on our side and fights for us every day! Our God is bigger than the biggest trial we will ever face. He is the God that can move mountains and that created you and me.

God has shown me that He is there for me in small ways and has given me joy and hope again. He has put people in my life to pray for me, encourage me, and speak truth into my life. Instead of asking, “Why?” I have changed my views and have decided to say, “God, I trust you. I know that you are good and faithful. I know you have me in this trial for a reason and I know you are going to bring me through this.”

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Hello… it’s me

20 She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?’”          Ruth 1: 20-21

What are your first thoughts when you hear someone talking about Ruth? Is it that her husband died? Is it Ruth saying, “…Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)? Or is it that she eventually meets Boaz and lives happily ever after?

For most people these are the things we think of when we hear of Ruth. However, there is another part of the story that is just as important. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, has just lost her two sons and her husband. Can you imagine the pain she is suffering? No one should blame her for wanting to change her name to Mara! She had a reason to be bitter towards God… I mean come on, He took away her family!

But the incredible part is… there is so much more than that! Even through her times of bitterness, God still blessed Naomi through Ruth. God still loved her and did immeasurably more than we could ever ask, think or imagine.

Like Naomi, there are so many times in my life I want to change my name to what the world says about me:

  • Bitter
  • Impatient
  • Selfish
  • Unloving
  • Ugly
  • Unworthy
  • Unacceptable

The list goes on.

However, I am blessed to be loved by the creator of this universe. The God who changes our name and continues to immeasurably more. We never have to play the game “He loves me, He loves me not?” because the answer is always the same: He loves me!

No matter how many times I turn away from Him or question what He is doing in my life or why He did what He did… He is always by my side and unconditionally loves me every step of the way.

So when you are wanting to quit and give up on life remember that God has named each of us!

Redeemed (Psalm 111:9) Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
Brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17) Beloved (Romans 9:25)
Child of God (John 1:12) Friend of Jesus (John 15:15)
Accepted (Romans 15:7) Alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
Chosen (Ephesians 1:4) Hope (Ephesians 1:12)