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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anticipating our needs

If you have ever tried to talk with someone who just isn't listening, you know the frustration this can create.  If you try to get their attention, you might succeed, but holding it is another thing.  When someone is definitely not interested, or totally distracted by something else, no amount of coaxing on your part seems to do the trick in holding their attention.  I wonder how God feels sometimes when we are so totally disinterested, or distracted, when he is attempting to get some message across to us.  Since he gave us all the emotions we experience, and we are created in his image, do you think it is possible he might get a little "frustrated" with us at times?  In the simplest sense, "frustrated" simply means to be disappointed.  I definitely think God experiences disappointment!

I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask.  I’m here, ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look.  (Isaiah 65:1 MSG)

The good news is found in Isaiah - God doesn't wait to be heard, nor does he wait for us to focus all our attention on seeking him!  He seeks us!  He makes himself available, even before we know we have need of him!  Looking at our passage, we see him "anticipating" our need.  If you have ever tried to anticipate the needs of anyone, you know this is quite a task!  It is such a tremendous task for us because we are human and limited in our understanding of the various needs of another.  God is not limited by these same "limits" - he is in no way "finite" in his understanding or apprehension.  In fact, he is all-knowing (omniscient).  

We are just about to enter another Christmas holiday season, complete with all the mixed up rush of shopping, gathering, and celebrating.  Some will be engaged in preparing home and hearth for the many celebrations, while others will quietly squirrel away in the comfort of their little homes, trying desperately to avoid all the hubbub.  We all "celebrate" the tremendous "gift" of Christmas in our own ways.  Before we get either totally wrapped up on the hectic events, or withdraw to our own wee abodes, let's not forget the meaning of this season.  It is the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  As such, the real meaning is God's ANTICIPATING our need!  He knew we needed him long before we ever realized his actions on our behalf.

As we take apart our passage this morning, we find several awesome truths:

- God makes himself available.  If you have ever tried to get an appointment to see some high up official such as the town mayor, your senator, or possibly the governor of your region, you might just know how tremendously difficult it is to find time in their busy schedule to have an audience with them.  Imagine  this is the God of the entire universe we are talking about here.  Wouldn't he be pretty busy, too?  Wouldn't his schedule be tight?  You betcha!  But...he makes HIMSELF available.  Readily available - attainable.  No hesitation on his part.  It is his greatest joy to be available!  Every time I think my need is just too insignificant to bring before the God of the entire universe, I need to "check" myself - no need is EVER too insignificant, nor is his "schedule" too tight to make himself available.  The mayor, senator, or governor may have to "fit me in", but God has already "blocked" time for me!  He's done the same for you, too!

- We don't even ask.  Looking carefully, Isaiah reminds us we often find we need his "availability" even before we take the time to bother to ask.  Do you know what it means to bother someone?  It means to interrupt the pressing duties of another.  Imagine this:  The God of the entire universe must have some pretty demanding "duties".  Things like holding the planets in alignment, stars in their place, waters flowing from the deep recesses of the earth, and hearts beating everywhere.  There is a lot he does just by the power of his word spoken.  Yet, his "duties" as God of the entire universe NEVER outweigh his desire to be available even before we ask!  We don't even realize we have a need - we don't realize we need his "availability".

- He is here.  Not in some far off place, or in some galaxy yet undiscovered by human eye.  He is HERE and ready to be found.  There is nothing elusive about God.  He is ever-present (omnipresent).  We try to look all kinds of "places" for the answers to what we might perceive to be our need, but it is only in recognizing God HERE that we discover the answer to our need even before we know what the real need is.  

So, as we approach this season of Thanksgiving and on into our celebration of Christmas, let us take a little time out of our busy days to refocus our attention on the one who makes these seasons even possible.  Did you ever stop to consider there would never be a Thanksgiving is men and women never sought to enjoy their religious freedom?  Did you ever think Christmas would just not exist if Christ had never been sent to the earth to be the atonement for our sins?  This should give us perspective - God "anticipating" the needs of his people even before they asked, or bothered to look!  Just sayin!