"If I could give you information of my life, it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. —Florence Nightingale
The end of the first sentence seems like something is missing, but the thought is there.
J.R Miller wrote this story in a devotional thought based upon Lk 2.12.
Yes! that is the meaning of it all. It tells of the good will of God toward all men. There is a strange medieval legend which illustrates this truth. An infidel knight, in the wildness of his mad, Heaven-defying infidelity, determined to test, by the method to which as a knight he was accustomed, the reality and power of the God whose existence he denied.
So, going out into the field, armed as if for combat, he cast his glove down upon the ground, after the manner of the ancient challengers, and cried out to the heavens: “God! if there be a God, I defy thee here and now to mortal combat! If thou indeed art, put forth thy might, of which thy pretended priests make such boasts.” As he spoke, his eye was caught by a piece of parchment fluttering in the air just above his head. It fell at his feet. He stooped and picked it up, and found inscribed upon it these words, “God is love!” Overcome by this unexpected response, he broke his sword in token of his surrender, and kneeling upon the fragments, consecrated his life henceforth to the service of that God whom he had just before defied.
A man and his wife lost their three-year-old daughter to cancer. He shared his experience and said that people who expected God to do miracles at their behest had a God that was too big.
God's work in the world is not to perform miracles, but to draw us close to him, to walk with his children in their trails and sufferings, that they might grow in faith and know him better.
A devotional using Lk 1.6 as base, says in part:
One of the old artists was chiselling with great pains on the back part of his marble. “Why do you carve so carefully the tresses on the head of your statue?” asked one; “it will stand high in its niche against the wall, and no one will ever see its back.” “The gods will see it,” was the reply.
We should learn a lesson from the old heathen artist. We should do our work just as honestly where it will be covered up and never seen by human eyes, as where it is to be open to the scrutiny of the world. For God will see it. We should live just as purely and beautifully in secret as in the glare of the world’s noon. There really is no such thing as secrecy in this world.
Focus question: Do I live and act for God to see, or for man to approve?
Just what we need: a balanced view of the love and wrath of God.
"Throughout people's lives, God calls them to Him. He uses good and bad situations and people's weaknesses and strengths to bring them by life's end to the realization that He should be the most important person to them. God is not an egotist, but His importance in people's lives determines whether or not they become who He wants them to be."
—S. Kughn, Heart Tree for Empty Nesters, pp. 26-27.
Don't know who John Bell is, but this quote of his is a good statement of divine purpose:
You keep us waiting. You, the God of all time, want us to wait. For the right time in which to discover Who we are, where we are to go, Who will be with us, and what we must do. So thank you … for the waiting time.
Except perhaps for the last part, about what we must do. That has been fully revealed in Scripture.
Ultimately, heaven is God’s home, not ours. He is not obligated to invite anyone into His home. —Kathryn Haddad
Good thought here. His invitation is open to those who accept Christ by faith and obedience. Immediately, John 14.23 happens. Afterwards, eternal life in heaven.
Maybe the Lord will approve of this simplest of verses:
God listens to the smallest fear,
He notes the single falling tear,
He answers every needy call,
And loves the lowest man of all.