Congratulations to Lysa TerKeurst on the relase of her new book, Uninvited. I invited her to share an excerpt. I think you’re going to love it. –Max
I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood in the Holy Land. I let the full reality of all He was facing fall fresh on me as I opened my Bible.
I challenged myself to read the uncommon scriptures. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.
In Mark chapter 6 we see Jesus sending out the 12 disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v. 13.)
But we also find earlier in verse 3b, “… And they took offense at him.”
We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the 5,000. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.
But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v. 31a).
Messy realities tucked in the midst of miracles.
People laughed at Jesus. People rejected Jesus. People misunderstood Jesus. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day, I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him. And because this was a reality for Him, He is the perfect one to turn to when rejection is a reality for us.
He understands. He teaches us from that tender place of knowing this pain personally. And, best of all, He chose to do His miracles in the midst of messy realities.
Remember this. Don’t get so consumed by and focused on the mess—the feelings of rejection, hurt, and disillusionment—that you miss the miracle.
That’s the very thing that happened to the disciples right after the feeding of the five thousand. They got in a boat and quickly found themselves in rough waters, tossed by strong winds. They strained at the oars as the realities of life beat against them. This storm was a terrifying mess for them.
But Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess. The same miracle worker they had watched multiply the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them. And they thought He was a ghost:
They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:49–52).
The word hardened, as it is used here, means “unresponsive, completely lacking sensitivity or spiritual perception.” How can this be? How could it possibly be that the disciples’ hearts were lacking sensitivity and spiritual perception? They had been with Jesus! The fullness of God had breathed on them, walked with them, served alongside them, and worked miracles in the midst of them.
I can tell you how.
They had witnessed expressions of God, but they hadn’t turned those expressions into personal experiences. The NASB translation of verse 52 hints at this: “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.”
The Greek word for insight here is syníē¬mi, which means to put facts together to arrive at an understanding complete with life applications. The disciples had not done that with the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
In other words, they had seen a lot. They had heard a lot. But they had not personally applied what they’d seen and heard. Their hearts were not tender to the reality of Jesus. Their hearts were hardened.
How does this relate to us?
We can go to Bible study and amen every point made, but if we don’t apply it to our lives, we won’t be changed. And I’ll even take it a step further and say that if we’ve been exposed to a teaching that we know we need to implement and we don’t make any changes, that’s a clue that the hardening of that part of our heart is in process.
Inspiration and information without personal application will never amount to transformation.
A rock song can inspire us. The nightly news can inform us. But it is only by applying the truth of God to our lives that we can be transformed in the direction of God’s best for us.
The disciples were surely inspired by Jesus’ miracle. And they were certainly informed by His teaching. But because they had not personally applied what they learned, they weren’t transformed.
Only when we seek to apply His revelations to our situations will we experience transformation. Transformation helps us more clearly see Jesus. And when we more clearly see Him, we can more clearly see the miracle in our mess, the good in our difficulty, the redemption in rejection!
Even when you’re overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God. Learn more about personally applying this truth to your life with Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. Find out more here. Order a copy of Uninvited from our ministry store.