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What are You Looking for?
by Mary Alice McGinnis
When you get up in the morning, what are some of the first thoughts that cross your mind?
With all the scary events that have taken place over the past few weeks, months and years, it’s hard to know what is going to happen next. If you read the news, maybe your first thoughts are:
“The world is spiraling out of control, the economy is a wreck, and life as I know it is on the brink of disaster.” Or,
“When is all of this going to come to an end?” And,
“What terrible things are going to happen next? This is not going to end well.”
Let’s rewind to capture the context of today’s scripture reading. The children of Israel had been wandering around in the wilderness for forty long years. They are now on the cusp of entering into the land that God had promised them, a land of abundance, “flowing with milk and honey.”
They had sent twelve spies into the promised land to “check it out.” What did they see?
Twelve spies went into the land, and all twelve of them saw exactly what they expected to see.
On the one hand, ten of those spies saw the abundance of the land, BUT it was overshadowed by their fear. They went into the land with a heart of unbelief, and that is exactly what they saw.
“They spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.’” (Numbers 13:32)
The other two spies had a different perspective. They chose instead to see things through the lens of what God had promised. They chose to believe God.
“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.” (Numbers 14:7-8)
The same is true of us, too. We will see what we expect to see.
Jesus told us:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
It is true that there are a lot of scary things going on around us, things that threaten our safety, security, and our well-being. But aren’t there also things that God has done, and is doing right now, in our midst that remind us of who He is?
I love this declaration from author Margaret Feinberg that I have been using to start my mornings:
“I will look for the character and competence of God in every situation.”
We can trust and rely on His promises. Why? Because God’s character is pure, holy, and good. He is Faithful and loves us with an everlasting love! God is also competent, fully capable of bringing about exactly what He says He will. He has shown it to us again and again, since the time of creation. He has revealed Himself, His character AND His competence, through the stories in Scripture and in the pages of each of our lives.
What about you? Where has God shown YOU His goodness, kindness, faithfulness in your life? Where has He shown YOU that He is more than able to do what He has promised and that He loves you?
When we return our focus to the character and competence of God, it can change how we view everything. When we feel ourselves giving into fear and succumbing to doubt, God through His word reminds us:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
Cup Prayer – Use this prayer will help you pour your heart out to God today. Begin with your hands folded together like an upside-down cup. Pour out before God all your fears, anxieties, guilt, sin and shame. Tell Him what troubles you. Tell Him about your doubts. Take time to be specific.
When you feel like you’ve poured out your heart, flip your hands over, folding them like an open cup, ready to receive from God. Sit in silence, asking God simply to fill you with His Spirit.
If your mind runs back to sin, shame, anxiety or concerns of the day, flip your hands back over and pour it out to the Lord.