Now because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews began to persecute Him. But Jesus answered them, “To this very day My Father is at His work, and I too am working.” John 5:16-17
Sometimes I unconsciously think that God isn’t currently working in the situations surrounding me. He’s focusing his efforts elsewhere. Yes, he’s answering some prayers, and doing some cool things. But my heart longs for him to move a few mountains, and I feel like he’s expending that kind of effort elsewhere, not here.
Reading today’s red letter passage does me good. It reminds me that God is always working everywhere. He doesn’t take a break from his work. Yes, he rested on the 7th day of creation. But we don’t have to say, “Well, it’s no use praying right now, because God’s taking a break.” No, we know that God always listens and responds.
Let me say that again. He doesn’t take a break. He’s always listening. He’s always working.
It reminds me of Isaiah 40:28, “He will never grow faint or weary.” When it comes to us, we grow faint. We get tired. For me, it’s the end of November, and I confess that I am flagging. My excitement isn’t at its peak. The concerns of the past year are weighing me down. The effort of continuing to go, and give, are wearing me out.
But God doesn’t wear out. That is so comforting. He keeps going and giving at the same rate.
Think of situations throughout the Bible where people could be tempted to think that God had quit working. Joseph was squirreled away in prison. David was running and hiding from Saul. The Israelites wandered in circles. Jesus was persecuted and crucified.
But God was just as active as he had ever been. He was working. It’s only that his work was preparing for the next step. And in each of the cases I mentioned, there was a great next step.
So when we’re in our dark times, can we believe that God is still working for us 100%, and preparing the next step for us?
And let’s look at the second part of the red letter statement. Jesus is always working as well. He constantly cared for people and their needs while he was on the earth. He did have physical limitations. We just read in John 4 about how he rested at the well while his disciples went to buy food. But he was always willing. When asked, he would say, as he said to the centurion, “I will go and heal him.” (Matt 8:7) To him, it didn’t matter that it was the Sabbath. God was always working, even on the Sabbath, so he would as well.
What’s super encouraging is that Jesus doesn’t have the physical limitations anymore. Now he’s wholly spiritual, and can always be working like the Father. His work is to go to bat for us before God. “For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
Plus, Jesus doesn’t mention this part, but the Spirit is always working as well. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8:27) There are many other verses that illustrate how the Spirit is always working.
This makes us feel so much better. So when we don’t see God working, let’s remember that there are things going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. Let’s remember the nature of God, Jesus and the Spirit.
- And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
- How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13
God is always listening. He isn’t taking a nap somewhere. He isn’t distracted. He isn’t focusing his energy elsewhere, like it’s a finite resource.
He absolutely cares about our needs and concerns, and he’s expending effort on our behalf, whether we see it or not.
Because God, and Jesus, and the Spirit, always work. That’s how they roll. That’s who they are.