My oncologist. I never expected to use these words in daily speech, along with breast cancer and mastectomy. After a routine mammogram recently set my life spinning, I found my language had shifted, as had my perception of what really mattered. I made a quick life review and felt deep thanksgiving at all I had. I also fell into the arms of God and the support of people who loved me.
The Message labels today’s verses “You’re Not in the Driver’s Seat.” Cancer reminds us of that fact, as do failure, broken relationships, job loss, and myriad other aspects of human life.
Jesus calls ordinary people to be his disciples, and by the time of today’s scripture conversations, those chosen ones must be feeling pretty good. Sure, Jesus is “in the driver’s seat,” but they have witnessed healings and been instruments of healing themselves. They’ve been commissioned to “proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near’ ” (Matt. 10:7). Sometimes Jesus says things that confuse them, but he walks on water and feeds five thousand.
When Jesus explains how his earthly story will end, the disciples balk. “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you,” says Peter. Jesus responds, “You have no idea how God works” (the message).
Jesus asks us to set our mind on “divine things.” How do we lift ourselves above the human and find the divine? I suggest we keep our eyes on Jesus, heed his example and words, and remember that we are not in the driver’s seat. No matter what life throws our way, trust God.
Gracious God, I am along for the ride and trust in you to guide me, wherever life takes me. Help me get out of the way so you can work in me. May I keep my mind set on your divine ways. Amen.
Moses has fled Egypt and is living in the desert, where God calls him to return and free the Israelites. Moses resists, but God does not relent. In many of the Psalms, the psalmist reviews God’s record of faithfulness. Psalm 105 is no different and highlights the calling of Moses. In Romans, Paul addresses practical ethical concerns. How should we treat those who treat us poorly? We should never repay evil for evil, but instead should bless those who harm us. This goes against our natural instincts, yet the gospel is countercultural and calls us to a higher standard. In Matthew, Peter has just had a tremendous moment in declaring his faith in Christ. Now he stumbles in failing to understand that Jesus’ path to glory will pass through suffering.
Read Exodus 3:1-15. What sacred encounter might have been your burning bush? How did you know God’s presence was with you in the encounter?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b. How does obedience to God shape your life? Recall an instance where your obedience to God’s call or teachings made a difference.
Read Romans 12:9-21. When has working toward a common goal helped you better love your family, friends, or community?
Read Matthew 16:21-28. When have you had to trust God and accept that you “have no idea how God works”? How did your trust help you through the situation?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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