Wednesdays with Jillene: demanding a sign

Here’s the deal. We’ve had an interesting week and a half in our house… nothing earth shattering. No one is sick with a severe disease or anything. But… it has been a trying week. Today was the kicker: I have strep.

Again, not the end of the world but it is awful. I garnered some pity from the nurse doing my strep test because, “Wow… I mean… wow… there really isn’t any room in there! Your throat looks so painful! You poor thing!”

The PA said my swelling was significant and just to be honest with me she said, “Your pain is going to get worse before it gets better.” Probably another day and a half before the antibiotic will start to make enough headway to help my situation. And, I don’t know if it is just a psychosomatic thing or what but… it has been getting worse. I’ll spare you the details.

Life still moves on when mom is sick and kids need to be cared for, food needs to be at least purchased, details arranged. I’m so thankful that my oldest kids can step in while their dad is at work because strep is highly contagious and I’m trying not to infect our family much less the community.

I hit a point this afternoon where I asked my oldest for a hug. I couldn’t cope any longer. Then I sat and cried for a bit. I’m not saying all of this because I want your sympathy but because I want to set the scene and give you insight into where I was at with all this.

I found myself in despair when my throat had stabbing pain, I couldn’t really swallow, my voice would give out when trying to call for/discipline my children and I was supposed to make cupcakes for school, care for the baby and somehow not get everyone else sick?! total.overwhelmed.jill.needed.a.timeout.

So I took some minutes by myself. After letting the tumult of emotions pour out unchecked I started to “listen” to my thoughts. Full of “if only” and “how is this going to be possibles” followed up with a bunch of “I can’t do this” then I might have laughed a little.

Wasn’t it just last week I came face-to-face with a loaves and fish miracle working God?!

Yup, that was me. Last week I was blown away thinking of the crazy, amazing miracle of Christ to feed 5,000+ with 5 loaves and two fish. Fast forward to this week the same me didn’t see how God could get me through one more minute much less the rest of the day.

Cue the laughing at myself (in a good way).

I’m just like the people in scripture. Jesus performed a crazy miracle and it didn’t take long for people to demand (another) sign that he was who he said he was, that he could do what he said he could do…

If I only had eyes to see and the strength to remember!

The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is found in all 4 gospels. It’s kind of interesting what happens after this miracle. In Matthew and Mark, after feeding the 5,000, Jesus sends the disciples on ahead of him by boat while he stayed in this hills to pray. Then, in the middle of the night, Jesus came walking to them on water… and.they.were.terrified. We see Peter take a step of faith, asking Jesus to call him to walk on water; then Peter’s faith falters and he begins to sink. Jesus asks, “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?”

Why did you doubt me?

In the gospel of John, we see the next day the people track Jesus and the disciples down and come to him with this:

25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.

Recently, in the middle of one of those deep faith conversations that traverse through way too many topics, a friend said to me, “I think we make God’s will for our lives more complicated than we need to. You know, ‘What decision does God want me to make?’ Sometimes I think it is more simple than we make it out to be. God wants us to be faithful people no matter the situation.”

What does God want from me? Believe in the one he has sent. 

It didn’t take long after Jesus showed, as the Son of God, miraculous power to feed so many people with so few resources that the disciples were filled with fear, that the people wanted another sign. Oh my, do I ever understand that! How often do I see the power of God at work and then turn around and find myself feeling as if things are hopeless, wondering how God will possibly work things out, or desire to have a strength of faith that allows me to move mountains?!

30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?

They’d seen the sign and wanted more. They demanded a sign they were already given. But they had forgotten or felt it wasn’t enough to answer their current questions.

That’s why I laughed at myself today.

God has shown himself again, and again, and again, and again, and again (you get the point, but do I?) to be faithful, to miraculously work in my life, to have a plan that is perfect in my weakness, to work all things to my good….

yet I often demand another sign.

God in patient love gently worked in my heart tonight. And while things weren’t my version of ideal, we had what we needed when we needed it. I tried to quiet the questions of “why am I going through this” and “how will I make it through?” Instead, choosing step by step to try and trust and believe in the power, love, perfection, grace, mercy and plan of God to be sufficient for me.

How has God shown himself faithful in your life? What areas do you have trouble remembering how you’ve seen God at work? How can you be strive to be a “remember-er” and through remembering, face the future in faith through Christ? Let us be like Peter. Luke 9 records that after seeing all that Jesus had done, Peter could see who Jesus was: the Messiah. May we not just seek God for the miracles to get through the moments, but for the truth that transcends all circumstances and may we live faithfully in that knowledge. 


One thought on “Wednesdays with Jillene: demanding a sign

  1. Pingback: Thankful for twists, turns, and rocky roads |

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