September 29, 2015
Reaching for the Real by Gwen Smith
He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. (Daniel 6:10b, NLT)
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The mug in my hand was filled with warm, dark roasted incentive. I cozied in on my favorite couch corner, breathing in the quiet. Settling my heart before the all-loving One, my whispers rose to heaven. I was desperate for God’s presence and power to fuel another busy day.
To my surprise and great delight, as I cracked open the Good Book a tiny distraction flew into my peripheral vision. A hummingbird had made its way over to the orchid arrangement on the side table of the deck outside. The artificial orchid arrangement. The nourishment that little flyer sought could not be found in a plastic and silk imposter, so the humming bird flew away.
I smiled and shook my head at the very notion that the little bird was looking to be fed by a fake flower. But less than five minutes later the hummingbird hovered near the orchid again.
You’ve got to be kidding me! I thought. What about plastic and fake did you not understand the first time, little guy?
And just like that I was humbled before God.
Yes. I do this too, Lord.
I do this when I look to the approval of others to validate my significance. I do this when I’m upset and I reach for something salty-crunchy instead of reaching for the Bread of Life. I do this when I find my security in the success of my children, in the numbers on the bank statement, or in promotions or positions at work.
Jesus is not our fast-pass to get through the pearly gates. He is our Sustainer, our Strength, our Comforter, our Deliverer, our Hope, our Defender, our Provider, and our Healer. He is behind us and before us. He loves us perfectly and. He is the very-real, very-alive, and very-able Lord we are all hungry for.
When I need soul-strength, nourishment, that will get me through the next few minutes, hours and days, it is vital that I go to the living source. To the unending power, perspective, and portion of Jesus.
The Bible shows us many great examples of this. Daniel found himself in an impossible-by-man’s-standards situation when a decree had been passed that violated and compromised the very core of his beliefs. He didn’t freak out. He didn’t run to talk to his friends about it. He didn’t post or tweet of his frustrations with the government. He turned to his Lord.
“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God” (Daniel 6:10).
Not only did Daniel pray, he gave God thanks! In the middle of a life-threatening situation, he focused his heart with prayer and gratitude. I should too.
Hannah was another great example. She had real problems with fleshy, prickly people. Hers was a long-term situation with no simple solution on the horizon. She didn’t pretend she was okay or distract herself with things that didn’t matter. She got on her knees and got real with her very real God. She poured her soul out in the presence of the Lord and was met with the provision of His grace.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly” (1 Samuel 1:10).
Just like Daniel and just like Hannah, I need to turn to Jesus with my worries and my woes. I need to pour out my heart to Him when I am feeling empty. I need to turn to Jesus continually, remembering to give thanks.
“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
You give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”
When I turn to the Word and to His presence, I am nourished in unfailing love. I am hidden in His shadow. I am invited to the feast of His goodness. My eyes are illuminated to see beyond my struggles by the One who shines brilliant as the Light of the World.
No more fake flowers. I’m reaching for the real. Jesus is the sweet Rose of Sharon. He is the Lily of the Valleys. (Song of Solomon 2:1-2) He is the Vine that is vibrant with life. (John 15) He is the Living Water that flows eternally and quenches every thirst. (John 4)
And He. Is. Mine.
Dear Lord, You are faithful and kind, and all that I need. Thank You for every trial that leads me to pray. Please keep my heart from wandering toward fake flowers and help me to turn to You instead.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What fake flowers do you often fly to?
CLICK HERE to spend a few moments in response and reflection as you listen to the song “You Are Mine” that I’ve posted on my blog.
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Gwen Smith is a co-founder of Girlfriends in God. She’s also a popular Christian speaker, author of Broken into Beautiful, co-author of Trusting God and Knowing God by Name, a songwriter, and worship leader. Connect with her on social media here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. (And, YES… she’s on Periscope too!)
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