Today’s devotional: missing the forest for the trees

When is Jesus coming back? Will the world end in 2012 (and if not, when)? Are natural disasters, acts of war, and other unpleasant news events divine signs that the Second Coming is around the corner?

Almost everyone wonders about these things from time to time; it seems a natural human instinct to look at the world around us in search of signs that point to God’s plan for humanity. But in the latest Slice of Infinity devotional, Margaret Manning reminds us that if we spend too much time obsessing over signs and predictions, we’re overlooking something vital:

In John chapter 6, a poignant and theologically rich section of the evangelist’s narrative, the multitudes come seeking a sign from Jesus. Many of these seekers have just been fed by Jesus in the feeding of the five thousand (see John 6:1-14). Still, they ask him, “What then do you do for a sign that we may see and believe you?” (John 6:20) Jesus answers them by saying that he is the bread of heaven. That is, in his very person life and sustenance reside! He is the sign from God! And yet the people do not believe him. They continue to seek for other signs and wonders. Even the religious leaders, themselves specialists in the interpretation of signs, grumble that Jesus claims to be the bread of heaven. Jesus rightly proclaims, “But I said to you, you have seen me, and yet do not believe” (John 6:36).

What are the signs that you seek? We rightly ask in the season of Epiphany and in light of John’s sign-filled narrative: What is the point of a sign if it does not inspire belief? That is to say, what is the point of a sign if it does not instill faith as opposed to fear, belief and hope rather than dread or simple wonder? In this sense, the signs of Christ himself intend to bring us further into the unique life of Christ. Thus we need not become fixated with the signs themselves, failing to see the forest through the trees. Seeking after the signs of God’s presence among us and God’s purpose for our lives, we must not miss Jesus in the process. He is both sign and sustenance, wonder and life itself.

Read the full devotional at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Do you eagerly anticipate Christ’s return, and watch carefully for signs that his return might be near? That’s wonderful—Scripture commands us to be ready for Christ’s return. But if the search for signs and symbols distracts us from Jesus himself, we’re missing the point!

3 Responses to “Today’s devotional: missing the forest for the trees”

  • shari says:

    I pray because I believe and I trust in him. I need him to guide me. I pray to hear his voice and feel his presence. I pray for his assurance, wisdom and to give me knowledge so that I can read and understand his word in sharing it with others. Most of all to give thanks.The love I feel for him is awesome!

  • shari says:

    I pray to him because the love I feel for him is awesome! He guides me for strength and courage when I cant see things clear.I pray just to give him thanks. I cant and wont live a day without him. His love for me is picking me up when I continue to fall over and over. My credit is him.Actions speak louder than words for he is awesome God!

  • wendy says:

    For some time now i have been asking God for an encounter with his word or/and angelic visitation. I believe him for something so long and thats why i need some kind of reassurance but now i believe him and his words are all assurance i need. He promised his words will not fail. I believe it and now have to look unto Jesus and see him only. Thats a prayer.