Embrace This God-Life!
Aug 27, 2018
Today was one of those days. A big project on a deadline – and then – one by one, a series of annoying interruptions and distractions. I was immersed in a writing project, then a pop-up on the computer led to an infection on my browser. A call to Apple Care ensued. Two times the call was dropped before I reached a resolution. Then a website wouldn’t open. Before I could stop myself, out of my mouth came a curse. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking….
Maybe that is what it was like for Jesus in Mark chapter eleven. It was the last week of his public ministry. A day or two after the triumphal entry, he starts the morning hungry. Spotting a fig tree in full leaf, he goes over to look. Apparently the tree could reasonably have been expected to have at least immature figs. But there were none, which prompts Jesus to curse the tree. He makes no further comment.
The next day Peter spots the same tree. “Rabbi, look—the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!” Rather than respond about the tree, Jesus states matter-of-factly:
“Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.” (Mk 11:22-24, The Message)
At this point, Jesus could not give a fig about fig trees. It is not hard to grasp what is foremost on his mind. He is about to face his sacrificial death for our sake and he has just a couple days to complete his in-person training and preparation of his apostles.
Embrace this God-life is such a compelling instruction. It is likely the disciples were on the road to Jerusalem from Bethany. “This mountain” likely meant the Mount of Olives. The enormity of being able to move just one boulder had to strike home.
What does it mean? Several weeks ago I got an emergency phone call at 11:00 PM. Uncharacteristically, I was awake and next to my cell phone. Two friends faced an immediate challenge. As I hung up the phone, I began to pray. Not what I was requested to pray, but even bigger things.
“Lord, you know the best thing that could happen at this time. Be present. Help these friends. Create in them an awareness of what you are doing and of the glory and hope you have in store for all of us.”
Naturally I was concerned and intent in my prayer. But here is the remarkable thing – I was at peace. I could sense and almost palpably feel this moment being an opening to incredible possibilities. I asked God for some very big things. And then I went to bed with assurance.
I mentioned the clock was ticking on my project. I was stressed – until I recognized the opportunity to once again “embrace this God-life”.
Is this God-life peripheral to the world of work – or is the workplace peripheral to the Kingdom of God?
What mountains do you face?
What are the work challenges that could qualify as mountains?
What role do the small things play in our God awareness?
How do you embrace this God-life?
What experiences do you have of “getting God’s everything”?