It hit me, perhaps, because my son (who just turned thirteen years old!) was working on his science fair project over Christmas break. He had been encouraged to select a simple, repeatable experiment and to isolate the components so that there was only one variable. And as I sat reflecting over this year, I remembered something I heard or read somewhere: that God showing up is the given, not the variable.
That was such an encouraging thought. Do you also need that reminder? As we head into a new year, a lot of variables assault us. It’s reassuring to hang onto the promise that God will never abandon us and nothing can separate us from God’s love, but it opens up a different nuance to phrase it such that when we step out to live life for Him (or heck, just to get out of bed in the morning – whatever), that we are not stepping out by ourselves. He has given us His spirit of power. He is going to show up.
Wherever we’re going, whatever we’re doing, wherever we’re not going, whatever we’re not doing, God showing up is not the variable – it’s the given. We might be a variable and circumstances definitely are, but God is the control; He is in control. God showing up in our lives, being present, being for us, being with us, being in us as His kids – that is a given. “Showing up” implies that He’s going to act and do something and have the final say.
Unfortunately, “showing up” also implies that He was somewhere else to begin with, but that’s not true for a child of God. As a child of God, He lives in you always and forever. (2 John 1:2) We just often need the reminder to be aware of His presence. And when we feel absolutely nothing or emotions to the contrary, it’s helpful to remember that emotions can be supportive indicators, but they are not always reliable. When despair flashes up on the dashboard, consulting the owner’s manual and the Owner, Himself, is a helpful course of action instead of freaking out. (Remind me I said that, okay?) Sometimes the vehicle really isn’t falling apart, there was just a loose electrical connection causing needless commotion. Sometimes we just need someone who knows how to reset the dashboard so it indicates truth once again.
I read a verse today that I completely love: “Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.” Proverbs 20:15 When someone tells me something I needed to hear at just that moment, resetting my dashboard, it’s priceless. I want to be that kind of person who shares wise words at the right moments to help healing take place.
Maybe because I love words, but I noticed that it’s words this verse talks about and not acts of service, quality time, gifts, or hugs. Of course all those other love languages have their place, too, so don’t get me wrong! But in this particular verse, isn’t it kind of cool that words can be worth more than money? Wise words, that is. “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
Maybe the most valuable gifts we can give aren’t ones we buy but ones we speak or write…? It’s fascinating to think that wise words can tip the scale when measured against all things financial. It kind of puts into perspective some of my priorities for this year – one of which is continuing to homeschool our kids. It’s a crazy job that doesn’t come with a paycheck. But I’m praying that I’m going to have enough left in the bank account to cover their therapy – er, that is, that I’ll have the energy and patience necessary to continue to train our kids, and hopefully one day they will embrace the value of wise words, too.
The Word became flesh and became one of us for a while. (Pearl’s paraphrase of John 1:14a)
God showing up is the given. His work in us and through us is not a variable – it’s a promise. (Philippians 1:6) He was a human for a while and knows what we go through. He is the Word and Wisdom Himself and He lives inside us! Whatever lies before us this year, may the Word speak comfort and healing to the places in us that need it, may He adjust whatever dashboard malfunctions we may have, and may He teach us wise words to share with one another at the right times. May He embolden us to do the customized works He’s prepared for each of us this year with the knowledge that He will, indeed, show up.