What Frustrated Jesus?
"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago." Psalm 77:11 (NIV)
If I lived in the days of Jesus, I like to think I'd have been moved by His miracles. Changed by His miracles. Repentant and willing to live differently because of what His actions proved. He is the Son of God—the miracle worker.
But would I really?
After all, sometimes I act as though Jesus can work miracles for other people, but not for me. Not in my issues.
Last year, I started to see that one of my issues was my short and snippy reactions to my family. I felt like I was constantly coming unglued and getting all tangled in my raw emotions. I chalked it up to stress, being overly tired, and monthly hormonal fluxes. I kept making excuses and promises to do better tomorrow. But then tomorrow would bring with it more challenges and conflicts where I'd react again and then regret it.
I was quick to applaud when other people repented and positioned their hearts to see Jesus work a miracle in their life. But I lived as if that same kind of miraculous work wasn't possible with me.
And that kind of unrepentant attitude frustrates Jesus. He said in Matthew 11:20, "Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent." (NIV 1984)
Sometimes I have to get out of my normal surroundings to become more aware of things that need to change in me. So, last year I spent a week at a homeless shelter called The Dream Center. Pastor Matthew Barnett and his church run The Dream Center in Los Angeles, which is a ministry hub of 120 programs that serve more than 40,000 people every month. Housed in a converted hospital building, the 700-bed facility includes a transitional shelter for homeless families, a drug rehab center, and a shelter for victims of sex trafficking.
I went to help meet needs. But I quickly realized I was there as a woman in need. A woman who needed God's reality to fall fresh and heavy and close and real and too in-my-face to deny.
I saw God's miraculous healing power woven into so many lives at The Dream Center. I saw it. And wanted it.
God's miraculous power is what transformed the gang member with eight bullet-hole scars into a Jesus-loving servant. So gentle.
It's what changed the former prostitute into a counselor for other girls rescued from life on the streets. So pure.
It's what changed the drug addict into a loving father, teaching his son how to be a godly leader. So integrity-filled.
What prevented me from realizing that God's power could change me too?
Somewhere along the line I stopped expecting God to work miraculously in me.
Inspired by the changed lives at the homeless shelter, my soul quickened to the bold reality that I could be different. I really could have different reactions to my raw emotions. I knew my progress would be imperfect, but it could still be miraculous. And I felt a new hope rush through me.
I'm not gentle by nature, but I can be gentle by obedience. I'm not patient by nature, but I can be patient by obedience. I'm not peaceful by nature, but I can be peaceful by obedience.
I can. And I will.
I can be the unglued woman made gentle, patient, and peaceful. God, help me. God, forgive me. And in the shadow of that realization and repentance, the miracle begins.
Dear Lord, please open my eyes to see the places I need You to change in me. I know I have wrapped my identity in so many things other than You. I want You to change those rough, imperfect places in me. Help me become the woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Are you sometimes afraid of committing yourself fully and trusting God with the small and big changes that need to take place in your life?
In what areas do you need the Lord to do some major changing?
Isaiah 43:18-19, "But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." (NLT)
1 Peter 3:10-11, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it." (NIV 1984)
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