August 21, Sunday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from Aug. 15-21 are provided by Cami King.  Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, has recently completed her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh. 

Devotional Thought for Today

John 8:56-59

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

21The Bible is full of paradoxes. My church just finished a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. During one week we learned to approach God as Father – embracing sweet intimacy and closeness with Him, the access that a little child has to her dad. The following week we focused on hallowing God’s name and were reminded just how holy, other, and awesome God is. One Christian writer tried to put this into context: “If the distance between the Earth and the sun, which is 92 million miles, was the thickness of a piece of paper, the diameter of our galaxy would be a stack of papers 310 miles high. And our galaxy is less than a speck of dust in the part of the universe that we can see. And that part of the universe might just be a speck of dust compared to all the universe. And… [it’s] God who holds all this together with the word of his power…”

Now, who in their right mind instinctively approaches the One so fearsome with the freedom of a little child? So, how do intimacy and reverence coexist in our relationship with God? Most of us tend toward one or the other. Well, scripture doesn’t resolve this for us (by prioritizing one or eliminating the other) – both are true and we somehow live in the tension. There are many paradoxes like this in scripture – like the last shall be first or you must lose your life to save it.

Arguably the greatest paradox in the New Testament is the incarnation – the reality that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Our mathematical equations don’t even know how to add one to one to get one. So it’s no wonder why Jesus’ listeners had a really hard time accepting His claims to divinity (like the glaring one made in vs. 58) – so much so they tried to execute Him for blaspheming (being irreverent of God and speaking lies concerning Him). “How could this be?” they wondered. He is a man, which is literally not God (or so they thought).

As mind-boggling as it may be, God did take on flesh and lives in the world He made. And it’s within those two seemingly incompatible realities that we find the beauty of the Gospel. One phrase that got me through my seminary studies of scripture was, “Live in the tension!” Sometimes God’s truth is hard to believe or understand and sometimes there seem to be paradoxes in our very lives (between our present experience and God’s promises, for example). But we don’t have to resolve the tensions or explain them away. We actually find satisfying truth when we have enough faith to live smack dab in the [radical] middle of them.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, your ways are higher than my ways and your thoughts higher than my thoughts. Help me to trust in all Your wisdom, even when I struggle to understand. And help me to cling to all Your truths, regardless of my circumstances. In Jesus’ name.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 150

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