September 19, 2017 • Life for Leaders
“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
As the children of Israel were buffeted about by the more powerful nations of the ancient Near East, they must have sometimes felt like “a worm.” This image conjures up a sense of smallness, powerlessness, and vulnerability. Worms can’t fight back. And they are easily crushed.
Yet God offered reassurance to his people. Though they may have felt like a mere worm, he was there to help them. He would redeem his people—bringing them back to their homeland, protecting them, and blessing them with his presence.
Most of us know what it’s like to feel like a worm. Perhaps it happens at work when your boss treats you like a tool rather than a person. Or maybe it’s when you see your savings slip away through medical bills or bad investments, and you realize you can’t do anything to stop it. Or perhaps you feel like a worm in your family relationships. No matter the situation, God’s promise to Jacob is true for you and for me. God is with us to help us.
I’m reminded of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12 when talking about the “thorn in [his] flesh” that tormented him (12:7). When he asked God to take it from him, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (12:9). This taught Paul a profound truth: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:10).
Though we are weak, God is strong beyond all measure. There is no situation from which God will not redeem us. Thus, we can have confidence in him and receive his gift of peace, even when we are weak and waiting.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
When have you felt like a worm?
What difference did God make in that time?
Have you ever experienced the peace that comes from knowing God is with you when you feel small and powerless?
Gracious God, Mighty God, how I thank you for being there to help me, especially when I am weak. Sometimes I feel like a worm, Lord. And that’s not altogether silly, because I am weak and vulnerable. How great it is to know that you are there to help me.
O Lord, how I praise you for being my Redeemer. You have delivered me from so many messes, from chaos and heartache. More importantly, you have redeemed me from my bondage to sin and death. Through Christ, you have set me free to know the fullness of life. How grateful I am to you, my Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Assessing Performance (2 Corinthians 10–13)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
Have you ever experienced the peace that comes from knowing God is with you when you feel small and powerless? Your quest reminded me of a recent experience.
It was a Friday. Just a week ago a powerful hurricane had hit South East Texas and the the area was still reeling. Our immediate area was far enough form Harvey’s landfall so, we had only experience tropical force winds along with some very heavy rain fall. Closer to where he made landfall Harvey had left a wake of utter destruction.
Today, this Friday a week later, I was high, dry and the abnormally cool day with its bright sunlight found me sitting under the rear door of my small crossover awaiting the arrival of my grandchildren’s school bus. Warm sunshine bathing me on one side, while a cool easterly breeze washed over me on the other.
It was then I realized, while looking at the few whispers of smoke-like clouds that dotted an otherwise clear blue sky, that the world was all in order, everything was A-OK and a gentle love-filled peace seem to bloom forth from my very soul. I didn’t want to be anywhere else and the day’s concerns that had me more than just a little anxiety, only moments ago, had disappeared like so much sugar stirred in a clear water filled glass.
It did not seem to matter North Korea was about to launch another of her newly built ICBM Missiles, or the extensive flooding that Harvey which had left thousands homeless, or that my wife was experiencing atypically high blood pressures and the Doctors could not explain why this would happen when she completely healthy from her manicured toes to the lovely crop of red hair that wrapped her lily white face. No, all that and every other concern that had burdened me was gone and all I could sense or think was this overwhelming peace that enveloped me and all that I could see at this particular NOW moment.
Although I was fully aware of my powerlessness to resolve or even address the endless stream of the present quandaries that were attempting to lay siege to any tranquility I might ever hope for, I knew, in a most practical and deep sense, God was right here, right now. Without the slightest doubt, I was one with Him and all of His creation and it was revealing to me an entirely new definition of joy.
The encounter was shortened as my granddaughter ran with her Granny from her big yellow school bus yelling “Papa, Papa, can I show you something; I can read!” The fullness of those previous moments might have moved on but they had let their residue. A calm sereneness painted everything in shades of happiness and satisfaction with the new moment at hand. It were as if I could see NOW and all its importance with a new and greatly improved eyesight. No, it was more than just seeing it, it was like a enriched and upgraded form of just ‘being’.
This NOW moment had become an integral perhaps even vital part of the tapestry of all that was or ever could be. All this leading me to be infatuated with my surroundings and infected by my granddaughter’s zest for sharing her new discovery.
As the day wore on the feeling subsided somewhat but a new bright and lasting peacefulness seem to inundate me from within. Events of the passing day that would have ripped at me with their sharp edges were just too dull to slice through the harmony that had me awash in the euphoria of the warm-fuzzies that has captured me.
As I reflect upon the NOW moment, I am more than slightly disappointed at its passing but at the same time I am over-joyed at the remaining side effects. As God does so often, my daily devotional spoke directly to my experience. Father Richard Rohr in His “A Spring Within Us” spoke of moments like those I had just experienced. ” I hope you’ve had such a divine moment, when you just want to stop, taste, and enjoy–when an ordinary moment is totally satisfying and more than enough.”
As we human’s always seem to do, I am now saying, “what next?” I don’t know about you but I seem to always be looking anxiously ahead to what the future might have in store. Unless we believe in fortune tellers that question is an elusive one. Perhaps a question that has no real answer but always seems to be just on the tip of my tongue.
I don’t know what lies ahead for the remaining portion to this day which has just begun or the day that follows, but I do know one thing; that Now moment lingers in my heart and will color all I behold from this moment forward.
““I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.”
John 14:18-20 MSG
“God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 MSG
Larry, thanks for this wonderful comment. Really more of a devotional! I love what you write about the NOW moment. Thanks!