You Can Miss It If You Try
DECEMBER 24, 2018
The spotlight of history has a strange way of passing over the obvious, expected and known…and you can miss it if you try.
A president by the name of Abraham Lincoln lived in an Illinois log cabin. An organist and choirmaster by the name of Johann Sebastian Bach served a small church in Germany. An ambitious adventurer by the name of Napoleon came up from the armies of France. A Reformer by the name of Martin Luther started out at a university in Wittenberg. Methodism founders by the names of John and Charles Wesley were raised as preacher’s sons in a small country rectory.
Who would have thought?
John Ruskin picked up a handful of mud and took it back to his laboratory to analyze. He found in the mud, four potentialities—in the sand, the sapphire; in the clay, the opal; in the carbon, the diamond; and in the water, the snowflake.
Who would have guessed?
It was that way with the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The insignificance, obscurity and humility in a stable, manger, star, shepherds, farm animals…and God.
The God of the universe—the sovereign King, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, the One who creates and sustains—bent down low and came to us. That fact speaks to us of a Father and of the way he works in our lives.
When God speaks, be very still…because you can miss it if you try.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah stood against the 450 prophets of the pagan god, Baal, prevailing in a fantastic way. After Elijah’s victory, he became depressed and sullen, making his way to Beersheba. In a cave, he asked God to take his life. Then “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave…[and spoke with God]” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Likewise, the Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It is also no accident that, after Paul’s conversion, he went out into the wilderness. In the stillness, he could hear the voice of God.
You need to be quiet and listen…because it is not the way of the Father to shout.
When God acts, watch carefully…because you can miss it if you try.
We live in a fast-paced world. We crave the latest, quickest and most expensive technology. We want constant communication. We are bombarded by news 24/7. Our first impulse in waking up each day is to grab our smart phone…just in case we missed something during the night. We dream big and won’t settle for less. And we can’t wait. Tomorrow is just too late.
God’s way is different. In Matthew 18, the disciples surround Jesus. They had listened to Jesus teach. They had seen the religious establishment come before him. The disciples are, I suppose, a little starry-eyed about the whole thing. They ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus’ answer is surprising: “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
God usually works by dropping a small pebble into a large pond. You can miss it if you turn around even for a second. The ripples begin and, before they end, those ripples become waves…making a huge impact.
That’s why it’s so important to be sensitive to what God wants for you each day. The “nobody” you take time to talk to may be the great man or woman God plans to use in your city. The family that you, as a mother and father, so lovingly care for may contain the child who will turn the world upside down for God. The small, insignificant task you perform tomorrow may be the most important task of the century in God’s economy. Make sure you watch carefully.
When God calls you to himself, go quickly…because you can miss it if you try.
Baby Jesus didn’t stay that way. Jesus grew up, lived and taught. Jesus died that we might live.
For a long time, you have thought of coming to the Father. Now is a good time.
The God of the universe has spoken to you: “I love you. I know all about your hate, bitterness, lust, anger, struggle, questions and sin, but it’s all covered. I paid your penalty on the cross. Come to me, but come to me quickly…because you can miss it if you try.”
Don’t miss it. Don’t miss him.