Searching for Signal

You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV

I was watching a baseball game on television one rainy evening when the picture began breaking up.  The screen went black, and white letters appeared across the bottom: “Searching for satellite signal. Please stand by.”

After a half hour of trying to keep up with the score on a fragmented, silent screen, I gave up and went to bed. The next day, however, the reception wasn’t any better, but then again, neither was the weather. 

“I don’t remember the reception ever being this bad,” I complained to my husband.

“Maybe I didn’t angle the dish right,” he said.

At the time we were siding our house, and he’d taken the dish off the side of the house and attached it, facing the southern sky, to a post in the ground.

He pulled out the instruction manual and flipped through until he came to the section on adjusting the dish. Fifteen minutes later, we had a clear picture. Although the dish had been pointed in the right direction, it had to be at a precise angle to receive the signal from the sending satellite.

Sometimes the storms of life interfere with the signals God sends me. Or sometimes, even though I’m facing the right direction, I’m not receiving what He’s telling me because I have the wrong angle. That “angle” could be selfishness, hurt feelings, a touch of envy or jealousy, or a simmering anger. Maybe I’m nursing a grudge and harboring unforgiveness. Perhaps my desires are becoming worldly, or I’m pursuing something I know is not in God’s will for me.

Whatever the interference—whether outside of my control, such as a storm, or within my control, such as my own rebelliousness—it causes me to lose contact with a God who promises never to leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Hebrews 13:5).

So how do I adjust my angle so that I’m once again getting a clear picture?

First I pray, confessing my willfulness and sin. Or, if a life-storm is the problem, I ask God to guide me through it, protect me, and strengthen me.

Then I read His Word. While I don’t play “Bible roulette,” picking verses at random, God’s Holy Spirit often brings to mind certain portions of Scripture that address my beleaguered spirit. Frequently the day’s scheduled reading is just what I need. His Word truly is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105), “full of living power, sharper than the sharpest knife,” cutting deep into my innermost thoughts and desires, revealing to me what I really am (Hebrews 4:12).

Just reading His Word isn’t enough, however. I must meditate on it, think of how it relates to me, how to apply what I’ve read to my own situation. Then I pray again, asking God to forgive me, help me, and guide me.

Unlike my satellite dish, my angle needs adjusted every day, even moment by moment. But I know, whether storms are raging outside or inside, if I seek God with all my heart, He has promised I will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Only then will I have a clear picture.

Thank You, God, that You are never far away. Why, You’re as close as the mention of Your name! Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 63:1–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Nothing Wasted

“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” —John 6:12 NIV

I learned resourcefulness and frugality early. I was nine years old when my father lost his job and used his skills as a carpenter to put food on the table. Meatless meals, such as bowties and cottage cheese or tomato soup and potato pancakes, were the standard fare, as were leftovers.

The truth of the adage “waste not, want not” was a lesson well learned, for I needed to apply it when my husband and I were raising a family and building a house on one income. I threw nothing away. Even small, one-serving portions of vegetables were saved and used in a stew. Sometimes I forgot about the leftovers stashed in the refrigerator until obnoxious odors sent me on a search-and-pitch mission. At least a healthy growth of mold assuaged the guilt I felt throwing away food.

As the children grew, so did our income, and I began to be less frugal. By the time the empty nest years began, disposable dust rags, toilet bowl cleaning pads, kitchen and bathroom wipes, and eyeglass lens cleaning cloths filled our cupboards. It’s easy to become careless when there’s plenty.

Jesus, God’s Son, who had the riches of heaven at His disposal, disliked waste. After He miraculously fed a crowd that numbered close to ten thousand people (the Gospels indicate five thousand men were fed that day, but that number did not include women and children), He told His disciples to gather up the leftovers.

“Let nothing be wasted,” He said.

Jewish tradition dictated that bread scraps be picked up and saved, since the Jews considered bread, which often represents life, as a gift from God.

What a far cry from our attitude today! A mentality that everything is disposable has spilled over into how we view relationships and life itself. Aborting an unborn child, abandoning a spouse for greener pastures, and assisting the suicide of a chronically ill person demonstrate today’s throw-away attitude: “When you’re done with it or don’t want it, throw it away, whether or not it can still be used.”

The speaker for the 2014 Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference, Linda Evans Shepherd, had a daughter who was paralyzed and brain damaged in a car accident when she was eighteen months old. Laura was now in her twenties and had a host of ongoing medical problems. But she was able to communicate “yes” and “no” with her tongue. Linda said Laura was doing what she wanted to do, which was to live. She has since passed away.

In spite of their difficult life, however, Laura brought much joy to her family.

“Let nothing be wasted,” Jesus said.

Nothing. Not the shards of our fractured lives and shattered dreams. Not broken relationships or wrecked bodies. Gather the fragments and give them to the One who will make each fragment count.

Thank You, Lord, that, in Your hands, nothing is wasted. Amen.

Read and meditate on John 6:1–13.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.