When God Provides …

Just last night I was reading the last chapter in the book of John (Chapter 21). In this chapter, the disciples had witnessed Jesus’ death, but not his resurrection, and in light of all that had happened, Peter made a grand announcement – he was going fishing. He decided to go back to doing the things he’d done before Jesus came into his life. He was (essentially) giving up on his ministry and walk with God in order to return to the life he used to have before he found Christ.

The other disciples went with him, and they toiled all night, but didn’t catch a single thing. I’ve read this story many times, but this was the first time that it occurred to me what a blow that must have been for these men. They thought that Jesus was dead. The ministry that had consumed their lives for three years was suddenly gone. And even fishing (the one thing they used to be good at) wasn’t working for them any more! It was like they couldn’t catch a break!

But then something amazing happened. In the midst of that moment of total failure, Jesus came on the scene:

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered (John 21:4-5 NKJV).

Jesus then gave them instructions – he told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. And even though they didn’t know it was him speaking, they obeyed. The result was a miracle catch so large that they could barely haul it to shore. That was when they realized what was happening – they realized that Jesus wasn’t dead! The biggest tragedy they’d ever faced wasn’t actually a tragedy any more!

Of course they rushed to the shore to meet with Jesus face to face. And when they arrived, the Bible gives us a detail that is small, almost to the point of insignificance, but so powerful that it overwhelms me:

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it,and some bread (John 21:9 NKJV)

Jesus had just given his disciples a monumental miracle. He’d just revived their dreams, their faith, and even their careers in one single supernatural act. But that wasn’t all he did. He cared so much about these men that he also cooked them breakfast!

I can’t get over how beautiful that statement is, and how much meaning it has for our personal lives. We don’t serve a God who only cares about the big things. When He moves in our lives, he doesn’t pass over the “insignificant” details. He provides for the big and the small, the significant and the seemingly insignificant. He doesn’t just provide – he is MORE than enough.

Isn’t that amazing?

As we near the end of this year, there may be some of you who are wondering how everything went so wrong. You may feel just like the disciples did at the beginning of this chapter – facing a life that looks to be in shambles. Or maybe you’re not in dire straights, but there are certain areas of your life that just aren’t working out the way you’ve wanted them to.  I’m here to remind you that God is with you in all of this. He sees where you are. He knows your fears and your frustrations. He has not abandoned you. In fact, he can take everything that you thought was wrong and make it all right again – and he can do it in an instant!

So if you’re struggling, frustrated, or just unsure … cling to Jesus today. He is the one who will NEVER leave you (even when you feel alone). He will NEVER abandon you (even when everything looks terrible). He is NOT done with you (no matter how impossible your situation may seem). And best of all – he CARES. He cares about the little things and the big things. He cares that you have enough – and that you have more than enough. He will give you the testimonies that will stun and amaze your friends and family. AND he will also do the “little” things that hold a personal power and meaning for you that can’t be expressed in words.

The love of God is more – more than we expect, more than we imagine, more than we could ever understand. And his love never ever fails.

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An End in Sight

This is the last of the posts about the book that I’d posted on my other blog. I wrote it at the end of last year …

Just earlier this week I got some incredible news and an amazing opportunity regarding the book that I’ve been working on for the past few years.

On the one hand, I’m so excited that I can’t wait to tell you all. But on the other, I’ve realized that so much has happened since the last time I wrote about the book, that there’s a lot of catching up to do first.

For starters – I’ve gotten some really amazing feedback and direction from a few key people (especially my mom) that has helped me crystalize and solidify the central argument that the book is making. That, of course, has meant massive re-writes (again), and a lot of time spent back at the drawing board (but in a good way).

Also, I realized a few months ago that my cover, while awesome, felt a lot darker than I wanted it to. So I called up my best friend/favorite graphic artist Rashada Nunez (designesbyrashada.com) and together we came up with a completely new cover design:

 

Isn’t it awesome?

And as if that weren’t enough good news, just a few weeks ago one of the senior pastors at my church got wind of this project and asked for a copy of the book to read. Of course, I was incredibly reluctant to give her what still felt like a work in progress. But I ordered the proof copy anyway and gave it to her to read.

Her feedback has been so positive, so encouraging, that it’s motivated me to push to actually produce a finished draft. 

And then just this week she called me into her office to share even more good news. She wants me to build a 12 week Bible study course around the book so that they can offer it (and I can teach it) during the next semester of Bible Institute in our church’s main location in Queens.

When she first told me I was so shocked and honored that I couldn’t come up with an intelligent response.  I think the words “that’s crazy” were the first thing that managed to come out of my mouth. And then of course I started crying. Because it really is a crazy gift from God, and it is so far beyond my wildest expectations of what might happen with this book that I still can’t really believe it’s happening.

But I agreed. And next semester I will be teaching My Brother’s Keeper as a Bible Study course in my church. That means by the time the spring semester starts the book needs to be completely finished, published, and available for sale.  

I have 6 weeks. And suddenly it feels like I would need a year to finish everything I have left to do.

And yet there is no question in my spirit that this is a God-ordained moment of opportunity. So even in the panicked scramble that I am about to dive into, I cannot help but find peace. If this is His plan, then it is in His hands. What better place could there possibly be?