Worth more than many sparrows

There are so many important things in this world, and when we compare the very details of our lives to them, they seem so meaningless. In the midst of all the catastrophes our world faces every day, in the midst of all the sufferings people go through, who can possibly care about how many hairs you have on your head? God does.

Because we think that the small things that fill our days are not of so great significance, we don’t even think of mentioning them to God. Why pray about details when there is more important at stake? So we pray for what we think God cares about, and we keep living burdened and tired because we are not doing the very thing that would set us free and give us rest.

God is the Lord of the universe. He controls stars and seasons; sets up kings and removes them; deals with angels and nations. Yes, it is the God of big things. But if He were only that, He wouldn’t be God. He is God because He controls even the most meaningless things that happen in this universe. He takes care of the tiny details of our lives. If He knows the number of your hairs, be sure that He knows your smallest dreams and cares. And because He wants you to be sure of it, He asks you to cast all your cares on Him, not the biggest one, not those that seem decent, all of them. From your weight issues to your singleness, from your work problems to your cravings, God wants to hear about them all. He cares about them all.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31 BSB)

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A God who runs

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.(Luke 15:18-20 ESV)

I don’t know what you think about God, but I know that sometimes, many times, I have hard thoughts about Him. It is as if somewhere in the depth of my heart, I always have some doubts about His goodness. I cannot just see it, understand it: a God who runs to me because He loves me.

If I were an outstanding woman of faith, I would understand. But I am just like the other heroes of the Bible, weak, messy, and fearful. And I doubt. I doubt because I give Him no reasons to rejoice over Him, but He says He does. I doubt because He does not need me but want me. I doubt because how could He wants me, seriously? It just does not make sense.

But in the depth of my heart, I also know that it is true; that as incredible that it is, His love is the real thing. I know He is good and merciful, gracious and full of compassion, and He runs. When I come back to Him, ashamed of who I am, He runs to me. No questions asked, just His arms around me.

The Holy Spirit made it clear: the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. So we need to pray that we will understand it. There is no other way. So I pray for me, I pray for you, that we will understand that incredible love more and more and more.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Beauty-giver?

Months ago, I decided to bring beauty in this world instead of complaining about the ugliness of everything. I decided to be a beauty-giver. But I quickly learned that there is a big difference between dreaming of being a beauty-giver when lying on my couch and giving beauty.

When my coworkers began to bully me, I locked myself into my fears, making things even worse. No beauty came from that.  When I had to keep going to work even though things were getting worse, I let my fears lead me on roads of loneliness and stress. I could not see God, His love, His care in the midst of oppression.

Then God reminded me of who I was. I was His, meaning I am never alone. He is always there and there is a great big family around me. I don’t think so many people have ever prayed for me before. People have been praying for me from all around the world. And beauty I was not able to give has come to me through words of encouragement and grace, through other’s testimonies, faith, strength, and trust. I am easily frightened by what is frightening, but I have an army carrying me beyond fears and threats. I am not alone. I am a citizen of heaven and a member of the family of God, and for that, my heart is filled with gratitude, and I can smile, and through it bring beauty into this world.

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:17-22)

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:3-6)

Your will be done

We all know that God’s will is the best for us, don’t we? Most of the time we firmly believe that His Will is good and perfect. Most of the time. So we pray  saying, “your will be done”. Sometimes God says “no”. It hurts but we can live with His “no”, most of the time. Sometimes it is very hard. We cannot see what is good in our circumstances and even the thought of eternity doesn’t help.

Or God may say “yes” and that “blessing” ends up looking more like a curse than a blessing. And we wonder why He said yes knowing the outcome. Did he say yes in His anger as He did with Israel  when they asked for a king (Hosea 13:11)?

Someone, somewhere told us that the will of God for us should always be pleasant,  should always look like a Hollywood blessing. We grew up being fed with stories telling us that being happy ever after is the norm. So we question God when things are not so good and lose our confidence, unsure of His love.

So lest we forget:

  • “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds” Psalm 145: 17. (NASB)
  • “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32: 4 (NASB)

If we believe those truths with all our heart, we will rejoice in the Lord with Habakkuk, saying, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)

 

Isaiah’s song

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

“We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:1-19 ESV)

Blessings

A Gracious and Holy God

Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the LORD. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:21-22

While I was reading through Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, I was awestruck by God’s holiness. People could not come near Him as they wanted. There were rules, conditions, and requirements. Even when you wanted to make a sacrifice and to offer a gift, there were conditions. You could not just bring whatever you wanted, as you wanted. (Exodus 19: 10-25, Leviticus 1; 10, Numbers 4:18-20)

Those books remind me of a song verse, “Grateful that you hear us when we shout your praise.” This song verse and those books remind me that I should be grateful to approach God and to pray to Him. They remind me that God is not obliged to hear me even when I praise Him. When I praise Him, when I sacrifice to Him and for Him, it is a privilege. It is my privilege.

Paul told the Philippians that they have been given the privilege of suffering for Christ (Philippians 1:29). To be with God, to serve Him, to speak to and with Him, to read His word, to suffer and sacrifice for Him, to be persecuted in His name and to be single for his sake are privileges. Privileges acquired for us by Christ on the cross.

God gains nothing when we do those things. He is God and will always be. He will never change. Even if there was no believer in the entire universe, He will still be God. Even if all humans were to go to hell, He will still be God, good and gracious. He is holy and only through His grace can we approach Him and serve Him and suffer for Him. If Christ did not redeem me, I have no idea where I would be. And it is my privilege to say “Thank you Lord.”

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18

Let us stay near

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. (Psalm 32:8-9)

We can easily be like horses and mules. We need to be forced to stay near God. We need rules and commands to draw near God.

Horses and mules fear humans because we stole their freedom and sometimes we are not that good to them. However, it is different with God.

We have all tasted that the Lord is good. So we have all the reasons to hang out with Him, to waste time with Him, to pray ceaselessly, singing at all times His praises.

Through Jesus, all the mercies and grace of God are ours.  Through Him, we are always welcome before the throne of grace. So let us not be like horses and mules. Let us stay near God at all times.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)