Friday: Psalm 104-105; Deuteronomy 22.1-12; 2 Corinthians 5.11-21

From: Kendall Vanderslice

How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small…These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

I’m currently in the bittersweet space of saying goodbye to a place that has been my home for several years while trying to maintain excitement for the coming phase. I’ve made multiple major moves in my life, some on my own and some with family. But even as moving has become a kind of routine, I’m still plagued by anxiety of the unknown.

In many ways, this coming move has been a beautiful image of God’s provision. Going to seminary and studying with a few particular professors has been a dream of mine for several years. Those who have prayed with me throughout my time in Boston and those who have followed my work and my writing encourage me by their own insight into the ways that this coming opportunity is God opening up His hand, asking me to be satisfied with the good things He is giving me. Offering good food at the proper time. It’s not the timing I had imagined, but it’s still God’s proper time.

But even as I see the ways God provides for all of His creation—from the creatures filling the vast and spacious sea, to the creatures covering the earth—I still find myself questioning if God will continue to provide for me. If God will continue to provide community, career opportunities, financial means, as I step into the next place He’s set before me.

Just two psalms before this one, the psalmist laments his distress before the Lord. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food…I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. It is comforting to see that the psalmist can go so quickly from admitting lament to acknowledging God’s constant provision. To know that I’m not alone in my anxiety and my worry—but that I’m also surrounded by continual testament of God’s provision and God’s love. 

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord.

I’m a baker and writer and soon-to-be seminary student. At the end of the month, I will be moving to Durham, NC to begin seminary at Duke Divinity, studying the intersection of food and theology. Follow my coming adventure at www.kendallvanderslice.com

Wednesday: Psalm 96-100; Deuteronomy 21.1-14; 2 Corinthians 4.7-18

From: Ryan Ruffing

The picture of the faithful life drawn for us in 2 Corinthians 4 is incredibly beautiful and incredibly challenging. Paul describes a manner of life which is so fully rooted in the hope of God’s coming kingdom, that caution can be thrown to the wind. When I read his words, I at once long for more of the life he describes, and I’m terrified of it.

The members of the church at Corinth probably faced a lot of the same struggles we do. They had placed their faith in the risen Jesus, and found themselves very much at odds with their surrounding culture. They lived in a well-educated, cosmopolitan city, and like so many residents of such cities past and present, they probably didn’t like to be thought of as fools. And yet they had begun to know the love of God in the person of Jesus, and that changed everything for them. Some started to speak the name of Jesus to neighbors and coworkers, and perhaps they were derided or laughed at—perhaps they lost heart.

Paul speaks a very clear word to them—do not lose heart. Yes, maybe you’re facing persecution, yes, maybe every outward circumstance seems to be against your Christian calling—but, there is a greater reality, a greater fact of history that speaks the definitive, unequivocally affirmative word over your life in Christ’s way. The kingdom of God is coming, and your courageous acts as citizens of that kingdom, though they appear like the actions of a fool to this world that is wasting away, they are ultimately the flowers of spring, signs of life, and signposts toward the abundant kingdom of God.

So, we speak the name of Jesus, we put our lives, our reputations, our wealth on the line for the sake of our neighbor. And, we do not lose heart.

I am married to Libby and live in JP with our kale plants.