Pause

The love of God has always caught people off-guard.
When we expect micromanagement,
God loves us expansively.
When we expect to be ranked and rated,
God loves us impartially.
When we expect to be found guilty,
God loves us unconditionally.
When we expect to be excluded,
God loves us with arms wide open,
ready to draw us in.

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Listen

"No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

John 3:13-15

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Think

Wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites complained to Moses: What are we doing here? There’s no food, no water, we are dying — slavery in Egypt was better than this! God, maybe trying to remind them how good they actually had it, sent poisonous snakes. Some Israelites were bitten and died. The people got the point; sadder and wiser, they went back to Moses, and asked Moses to pray that the Lord would take the serpents away.

Instead of making the snakes magically disappear, God gave the people a healing miracle. Moses crafted a serpent from metal and raised it high on a pole. Anyone who had been bitten could look up at the bronze serpent and be healed.

In a world where life isn’t always happy, where our dreams don’t always work out, where people are hungry and sick and dying, God doesn’t do magic acts to make our troubles disappear. But God still does offer us a miracle: we can lift our eyes to Jesus, and find healing that never ends.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Pray

Remind me, God, not to be discouraged by my situation, but instead to keep my eyes on the Healer you have lifted up. Amen.

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Go

When we let God surprise us
with expansive,
impartial,
unconditional,
all-embracing love,
we cannot help but carry that love
to our world.
Let our message catch people off-guard:
that God loves them beyond belief,
and so do we.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, wife to a US Navy chaplain, and stay-home mom to two little boys. In every new duty station, she participates in church life from VBS to pulpit supply, and is regularly involved in women’s ministries and writing. She blogs seasonal devotions at The Ordinary Times.

Nothings Ever Really Gone

Clay Mottley

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