This past weekend, Matt and I found ourselves lingering in the kitchen after an exquisite dinner of Frosted Mini Wheats (with apples. because we believe in well-balanced meals. obviously.) The kids were wildly doing their thing while we, the responsible parents, overtly delayed the inevitable: the bedtime routine.
As we stood there, fresh batch of chips and salsa before us (because, remember, we are firm believers in balanced meals), we started reflecting. On God’s faithfulness. His goodness.
Please note: this is not the typical post-dinner-pre-bedtime discourse in our house. Usually it goes a little like, “Go. Now. Upstairs. Now. Pajamas. Teeth. Bed. Now. NOW.” But this night, it was different. Blame it on the great sermon we had just heard. Or the looming bedtime. Or the lure of chips and salsa(!).
Either way, we began to look back over the past decade or so. On His hand in our lives. In our jobs. Our marriage. Our kids. Our friendships.
“Man, God’s just been so good to our family,” I said mid-bite. “I just can’t wait to see what He has in store for us.”
And then it hit me.
THIS is what He has for us. What we’re doing right now. The little yeses. The small acts of obedience. The daily mundane carried out faithfully, eyes on Him.
I have this tendency to look toward the next big thing while ignoring the very present. I get distracted from the here and now while I pace back and forth awaiting the future. I skeptically raise an eyebrow at the notion that what God has for me might be more of the same. The small, the mundane, the unseen.
But then I remember. Sweet goodness, I remember. God’s there too.
In fact, I’d venture to say that the ordinary is where God does the vast majority of His work.
In the small. The mundane. The unseen.
Because, looking back? These moments that we reflect on with such wonder- these Ebenezers in our lives- nearly all of them felt very, very small at the time. Ordinary. However, as we look back, we don’t remember them that way. We recall them as big. Game-changing.
As it turns out, it wasn’t about what we were doing after all. It wasn’t about us, you guys. It was about our great God accomplishing His plans. Through us. For us.
Our pastor, J.D., preached a great, great sermon this weekend on Joshua. He was talking through the whole wall of Jericho deal. How Joshua was amped and ready to attack the city of Jericho. He was prepared to fight. To get this show on the road. To do a great and mighty thing.
God’s strategy was a bit more… unconventional. Instead of launching into an immediate battle, God told Joshua to march around Jericho. To just walk. And walk. For seven days. And then, at the end of that, they were to yell and, just like that, the fortified walls of the city would collapse.
Like I said, unconventional.
Why? Because this was about God. He didn’t need Joshua or his men. He’s God. He’s kinda got this whole running-the-world-thing down without us.
No, God didn’t need Joshua. He used him, yes. But he didn’t need him. And he doesn’t need me. But He knows me intimately and loves me in this wildly passionate way that only a perfect Father could, and, because of that, He is deeply invested in who we’re becoming. As J.D. put it, “what we do for Him is not nearly as important as who we become in Him.”
It seems pretty clear here that God’s greatest concern in this story was not Jericho. He wasn’t wringing His hands and sweating bullets wondering how Joshua could possibly defeat the city. No, His chief concern was Joshua’s heart. That he would learn to remain faithful in obedience to whatever was before him. Even when it didn’t make sense. Even when obedience looked a lot like walking for days. Just walking. One foot in front of another.
We see big and small, important and mundane. He sees the state of our heart. We care about the impact we’re making on the world. He cares about the posture of our lives toward Him. These distinctions of big versus small, important versus ordinary, worthy versus worthless are human constructs. They are not of God.
Back to that discussion over the now-long-gone chips and salsa- it’s true. God has been faithful in our lives. And I really cannot wait to see what He has for us. It’s just that I might need some daily reorientation of my heart, my thoughts, and my motives to remember that it’s not about me. Or what awesome things I can do for God. That what He has for us may look like tiny steps of obedience and faith. One after another. Day after day.
And when the Next Big Thing seems to be quite ordinary after all, I can remember that the Orchestrator of it all- the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient One- is anything but.