Monday, July 15, 2013

Changing God's Mind

Have you ever been in a situation that you didn't want to be in? It could be a class you didn't want to take, a friendship you don't want to have, a job you don't want to do. The urge is to get out of it, to run away, to make your excuses and bow out. Today's philosophy dictates that you need to be happy in what you do, that it must bring joy, but joy doesn't come from what we do but who we are.

Unfortunately many of us allow the philosophies and principles of this world to influence us instead of the guidance of the Spirit and the Word. If we understood the Word we would understand that sometimes our Father brings us through things for the purpose of other people. In other words, it's not always about us. When we don't understand this we can sometimes find ourselves praying against the will of our Father. Because we are looking at things from our self-centered perspective we fail to see with God's eyes and it pits us against God.

I am sure that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a great mom but sometimes she did not see with God's eyes. Sometimes she could only see the immediate and was not able to see the bigger picture. While attending a wedding feast Mary saw that the groom was in trouble. Perhaps this was a relative or close family friend but regardless, the wine had run out and now the groom was in an embarrassing situation. Mary knew that Jesus could do something about this. How she knew he could resolve this isn't clear but she knew and turned to Jesus.

Mary did not know the big picture. She knew Jesus was destined to be used in a great way but she had no idea how great or the cost of it. She only knew what was going on in this moment and Jesus had to respond:

 “Mother, my time hasn’t yet come: You must not tell me what to do.” (John 2:4)

Jesus knew it was not yet time for events like this. It was not yet time for people to see the power of God through him. But the amazing thing is that Mary insisted and Jesus answered. He did it in such a way that only a few people knew what he did so he didn't go against the plan. There are a few amazing things that come out of this incident.

First, Mary did not look for a solution within herself or come up with some elaborate scheme to finance the need. She turned to God. She turned to the one source she knew could handle this situation. This is something most of us have yet to learn. Crisis after crisis we try to find our own solution and it is only in desperation that we turn to God. He should be our first choice.

Second, after receiving a response of no, Mary persisted. This is in line with what Jesus taught concerning the persistent widow with the judge. Mary continued in her expectations that Jesus would do something, telling the servants to follow his instructions. Even though it did not fall into the plan, Jesus, out of compassion, acted in such a way as to meet the need without interfering with the plan. Our God is a God of compassion and we must always make room and prepare for his response.

Third, this had nothing to do with Mary or any great soul saving enterprise. This was a request from Mary on behalf of someone who was in an embarrassing situation. Mary was thinking of someone else not herself in a social situation. We can't afford to define what God will or will not do. We need to respond to the needs around us by petitioning God and expecting him to respond out of his compassionate heart.

It is important to see things with God's eyes, to see the big picture but we must not limit God's actions according to what we think. God's compassion is great and when we ask in faith our Father is moved to respond. We need to be persistent in our prayers, believing, trusting that God will respond out of his great compassion. Who am I to decide what God will respond to and what he will deny? A lot more people may see the power, might, love and compassion of God if his children would just pray.

We also need to understand that sometimes God places us in awkward and difficult situations for the sake of other people. It isn't about us. We are servants and our eyes should constantly be open to the situations around us so that we can intercede on behalf of these people. We aren't very good servants when it is all about us. "Watch and pray" should be our motto as we trust the compassion, mercy and grace of our God for the sake of others. And we hope that the result will be the same result of the wedding miracle:

This was Jesus' first miracle, and he did it in the village of Cana in Galilee. There Jesus showed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (v. 11)

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