It's been a while since I've had a morning to myself in this house. A morning to myself: not working, not too many errands, time to sit and paint while I listen to the audio reading. And God has given me a lot of thoughts this morning that feel a little all over the place...but here is my attempt to connect it all in one blog post.
While reading the story of Joseph I painted the image of a little sprout trying to grow, trying to flourish, but feeling trapped and knocked down by life. And then I thought it was cool that in the Matthew reading it was the parable of the sower. The seed falls and grows but sometimes life gets the best of it.
But life doesn't have to get the best of it. I think of Joseph and how even though so much of his life looked thorny and impossible, he still grew. He still remained faithful.
I think in the church we often talk about this desire to "be on fire," to be radical and reckless in our love for Jesus. And that's what I want too...I see these Bible stories about healing, miracles, casting out demons, changing the world with big moments of "on fire faith" and I want that, I need that. But more than that I want to have the steadiness I see in the Bible. While there is something so desirable about being "on fire for Jesus" there is something so much more desirable about being calm, slow, faithful, and patient like a river, like still waters.
How much of life is really made up of the type of big moments we pray for? In our lives there will probably only be a handful of stories like that. I do think with Jesus we end up with more cool stories than the average person; but most of our lives are made up of seasons of waiting. Most of our lives are made up of sunrises, sunsets, rainy days, sunny days. Most of our lives are made up of moments that seem normal but through worshipful eyes are actually miracles.
I can't remember where I read this, so this maybe is plagiarism, hopefully not. I read somewhere that God is joyful like a little kid. When you are playing with a little kid and throwing them up in the air and they say, "Again! Again! Again!" and you become so sick of it but they still love it. God has joy like that!
He pulls up a sunrise and says, "Again! Again! Again!"
He pushes a wave to the shore and says, "Again! Again! Again!"
He sprinkles a snowflake to the earth and says, "Again! Again! Again!"
Satan likes to move in loud, big ways. I know when I'm under attack I sometimes wonder "where is God's voice? Why doesn't He speak louder?" Because Satan is yelling! He yells at us! "You aren't important." "You are stupid." "No one cares about you." He's so loud!
But God speaks to us in a still. small. voice. And it's frustrating when you're feeling under attack, but how much cooler is that? Satan has to shout to get our attention but God does not try to compete. He doesn't have to.
So though Joseph's life circumstances seem harsh and impossible...God is bigger and the steady daily faithful growth God instilled in Joseph is what won. Joseph overcame all life's obstacles with, yes, big amazing faith moments, but also more often slow, steady, patient faith and growth. God planted the seed, God watered the seed, God remained with Joseph.
Our hearts are black and bruised and ugly....we want change to happen suddenly like a giant wildfire consuming us...and God can do that, God does that....but God changes us in the same enduring way as a seed becomes a garden.