Fresh Hope – 17th May 2018

Often we can box our almighty, all-powerful God into our finite, tiny thinking. It is comfortable that way. We know what to expect. It’s logical and rational. We have a sense of control. The funny thing is that the very nature of God is uncontainable. We only need to look at the life Jesus to see that his ministry on earth was constantly ruffling feathers, shaking mentalities, challenging set-thought patterns and perceptions. Jesus blew the lid on cultural, social, and religious norms. Even in his miracles he was often totally unnatural and illogicalLike spitting in mud and rubbing it on a blind man’s eyes for healing? How about, casting out demons from people into pigs? I mean seriously?! How normal is that?

When God wants to do something, it isn’t always in the way you may expect. When God wants to say something, it isn’t always in the way you would expect.

There is a story in the Bible about a man named Balaam. Balaam was a pagan prophet. Balaan was rebellious towards God. He had a donkey of which he used for his travels. Then in Numbers 22:28, we learn that ‘the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth’ and spoke to Balaam through the donkey! Talk about God speaking in a very out of the box kind of way! God also spoke to Moses through a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-4). He spoke to Gideon through a fleece (Judges 6:37-40), and He spoke to Saul on the Damascus road through a bright light (Acts 9:1-5).

Last night I was at the gym doing a workout. I decided to try and use a piece of equipment I had never used before. I thought I had the hang of it, until a man, not far from me piped up. Judging by appearance, this man was a little “different”. Firstly, he wasn’t wearing trainers to the gym, he was in his slippers! He was an elderly man, walked with a limp and spoke with a very heavy and slow stutter. In front of everyone, from his workout mat, he began to shout out to me in his stuttering voice, how I could be using the machine better to best activate my muscles”. Although embarrassing and clearly challenging my pride, I kindly listened and applied his tips. Only I still mustn’t have been doing it correctly, because he stopped me AGAIN to correct me! Although he seemed slightly bizarre, the advice he was giving was actually working! What I had been doing wasn’t nearly as effective as what he was encouraging me to do. Sometimes God speaks in ways that don’t look cookie cutter. It’snot always in the pretty, simple ways that He will get a message across. Sometimes He will use very normal things to tell us something. Sometimes the very painful things, or sometimes even the problem itself is a gateway for the voice of God in your life. The question is: are we aware enough to notice it, and humble enough to receive it?

God can speak through circumstances, He can speak through the wise counsel of people, He speaks through peace, He speaks through dreams and visions, He can speak through our thoughts, through natural manifestations (e.g. Nature), through supernatural manifestations, through the Bible, and He can even speak in a whisper. Be open to what God might be saying to you, through the very normal things around you.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.