Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Never Run Out

Psalm 36:7-9 - How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

Psalm 132:15 - I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.

Psalm 132:15 (ICB) - I will bless her with plenty of food. I will fill her poor with food.

John 6:1-15 - After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!" Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Dear God, Thank You God that You NEVER run out of time, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, or anything else. Unlike Tom who ran out at the first sign of conflict instead of tryng to do what You say and trying to resolve things and ended up becoming an abuser and a bully just like the rest of the leadership at his church who ran out of grace as soon as they got back the autism diagnosis. As You fill me with Your love and grace and forgiveness and compassion and mercy though, it begins to overflow such that I must follow through on the next thing You have called me to do and reach out to them with an offer to meet me in the middle and talk through things. You see, in a way, when they chose to punish me for how YOU created me, they chose to punish YOU. And like that film, God's Not Dead, I need to prove You to them and to the world now. I have been challenged beyond measure because of them, because of Tom. Oh, and I can see characteristics of autism in Jesus. Looking at the passage in John 6 from today's devotional lesson, Jesus travels specifically with twelve disciples. Of those twelve, he has two or three that he truly considers to be His FRIENDS. And although He was a great speaker, whenever He was done, He always sought a place of solitude and isolation afterward. He had to separate from the crowds that tended to always follow Him or find Him. In the John 6 passage, He withdrew because He was afraid that the crowd would try to make Him a king. See, I got asked about why I thought You, God, have characteristics of autism, and then the argument was that Jesus was always with a crowd, and then I broke that down. The response I got was "very interesting way to look at it." Also, I mentioned about how no two colors are the exact same, no two white roses are the same, no two snowflakes the same, and even the platypus. Then I said, "What if we, who have autism, are the normal ones and the rest of the people are not?" In a way, that is true. I am not the weird one. Tom is. Mark is. I embrace my autism as a part of who I am. I embrace it as part of the big huge gift You gave me. It is part of the package of life that YOU gave me. But they tried to change me to fit their mold. And when they couldn't, they tried to isolate me and they punished me for being who YOU created me to be. They punished YOU. You don't run out. People do. Even the people who claim to follow You. Though to truly follow You, they would have to strive to resolve conflict with others. And that is where things are now. My next action that You are calling me to do is to prepare a letter and a chart for them and to send it to them. Then I have to trust that You will follow through on Your part since You are calling me to do this. And as hard as it is for me to trust You, I am going to do just that because You have been coming through on what some people might consider small things (though they are not small at all). Thank You God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

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