I love being married to a good cook. Michele works it hard. A bucket list dream for her is chef lessons onsite by Italy’s finest. She’s not there yet, but she’s closing in. Her buffet meals play a central role in the Zuidema family. It’s where we gain physical sustenance, laugh, share information, process feelings, and-at meal’s end-hear from the Word of God. Good stuff. But some of those meals are better than others. Take this morning. I ate Michele’s quinoa. She promises me that it’s good for me, but it’s bland and unmemorable. As Winston Churchill once said to the cook, “This pudding has no theme.” Most (all?) of her meals are far better than quinoa. Two nights ago it was fresh salmon off the grill with a salad of diverse greenery. However, Easter was smashing. We feasted on smoked turkey, cheesy potatoes, and homemade ice cream to finish. The meal was enhanced further by the presence of grandsons Micah (3) and Evan (1).
I’ve noticed over the years that I don’t remember what food Michele prepares most days. However, I’m quite sure it all nourished my body. But sometimes there’s a standout like Easter turkey.
Personal devotions are a lot like meals. Everyday Christ followers are to huddle up with God, His word, and maybe a devotional book to give the Bible reading added zip or a fresh twist. Most devotions, like most meals, are forgotten an hour or 2 after. With an especially good one, I remember it for the whole day. But once in a while, I am thunderstruck for a month or more. That was the case a few weeks ago. I was dreading an evening meeting called by the home missions committee of classis Illiana. I serve on the committee and am a leading voice stirring the pot for a Lowell church plant. The committee chose to invite the pastors and elders from Christian Reformed churches in the Lowell area to a meeting in DeMotte to explore the possibility of birthing a Lowell church. However, the churches requested to consider parenting were not leaping at the opportunity. The strongest of the churches said no for now. Or, more specifically, “we’re there in spirit.” Another church did not intend to come. They had other commitments. Another simply couldn’t make it that night. We were down to 3 out of 6 potential parent churches showing. UG! It’s hard to get something off the ground without strong support. That’s what I had to look forward to that night. And I was the presenter charged with “selling the vision.” I was convinced that birthing was going down in flames.
Then I pulled out my devotional journal for February – March called “Transformed.” The week’s topic was entitled “Transformed in my Vocational Health.” The morning text was Proverbs 16: 3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” Now I was listening. Here’s what the writer challenged. “There comes a point of decision where you have to stop talking and start acting. You have to begin. Once you’ve decided a risk is worth taking, you take off. You can’t get to second base without leaving first.” Then he stair stepped the process, “First you commit your goal to God, then you make your plans, then you take a step of faith, confident that God will give you success. How do you know when you’ve committed your plans or work or business to the Lord? He gets to be involved in the decisions. That means you pray about every decision. Planning without prayer is presumption. It also means that you make decisions that fit with the truth of His word. . . . There is no limit to what God will do in the life of a person or the business that gives Him the glory.”
Wow, just what I needed. I paused in prayer and turned all my dread and worry over to Him. I asked Him to take this church birthing idea and make it so, if He wanted. For the rest of the day I was at peace knowing that God had spoken directly to me so I would turn my worry over to Him. As for the meeting; an extra church showed, and the interest was more than I had hoped. Next week the group meets again to process their conversations with their boards. We’ll see what happens. But I know I’ll read that same text and the accompanying thoughts again that morning, so my soul can be at peace through Christ.
Yup, some spiritual meals/devotions are super memorable. All spiritual meals feed my spirit, but once in a while God throws a feast just when I need it most.
By the way, a friend had a similar encounter with devotions over a different concern. He had some suspicious nodules removed. On that day in his devotional time, God pointed him to being confident in God’ ability to care for him. He was scared about the upcoming results. So every day he read that same text and devotional over and over. It kept him calm over several weeks as he waited for Dr.’s word. God gave Him a banquet at just the right time.
Why don’t you try regular spiritual feedings called devotions? Most spiritual feedings pass without an earth shaker. But God will occasionally give you a banquet. And you will know that He sustains you on the regular days in regular ways, and in the important circumstances with exceptional clarity.