God in the Ordinary

by Julie Zine Coleman

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NASB

Many of us have stories of God’s intervention in our lives. My husband and I sometimes recall the times God’s hand was obvious, like the unexpected twenty dollars left as a gift by my aunt when were just about out of baby formula, or a “chance” meeting that changed the direction of my career. These kind of things were blessings easily discerned and continue to serve as poignant reminders of God’s faithfulness and involvement.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day looked for God to do the extraordinary, proving His presence and involvement. They would not believe Jesus was the Messiah because he was so ordinary in many ways. They believed that the Messiah would somehow mysteriously “appear.” The fact that they knew Jesus’ family, his birthplace, and hometown in which he was raised was enough to keep them from acknowledging Him as the Son of God (see John 7:27).

We tend to look for the extraordinary. But we miss so much of God’s activity in our lives when we only look for the miraculous. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NASB) The privilege of working at a job which results in a paycheck, the love and laughter of normal family life, the tender concern expressed by a dear friend, the food we eat, or the roof over our heads all may be ordinary every-day occurrences. Yet each good thing is provision from the Lord. Proof of His care and involvement.

My friend Beth had a group of middle-school girls meet weekly in her home for several years. Included in their weekly activities was “I Spy God,” when Beth would encourage the girls to remember times they saw God’s hand in the previous week. No great miracles were reported. Just the growing awareness of His presence in their lives.

When we can find God in the common, the ordinary, we will better understand His constant presence and involvement. We do not live in a world in which God only occasionally invades. Rather, Scripture reminds us we will never experience His absence. As David wrote: “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139: 7-10 NASB).

The faithfulness of God should not only be measured in the miraculous. While those moments are important and obviously confirming, we lose so much if we ignore the everyday evidences of His presence and provision. It is why we bow our heads at each meal. It is just one moment in our day when we acknowledge His activity on our behalf.

“Morning by morning new mercies I see, all I have needed, thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” (from Great is Thy Faithfulness)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Julie Zine Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or crafting. More on Julie can be found at her new website JulieZineColeman.com and Facebook.

Many Christian women are torn between the church’s traditional teachings on gender roles and the liberty they experience in secular society. But what if the church’s conventional interpretations aren’t really biblical at all? Julie’s new book, On Purpose: Understanding God’s Freedom for Women through Scripture, is a careful study of the passages in the Bible often interpreted to limit women in the church, at home, or in the workplace. Each chapter reveals timeless biblical principles that actually teach freedom, not limitation. On Purpose was recently awarded the Golden Scrolls 2022 Book of the Year.

Join the conversation: Please share something from the ordinary that reassures you of God’s presence.

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