Devotional Word for Friday, May 1, 2020
The file on my computer in which I keep the texts for these talks I labelled Devotional Words. I try to have a different “word” each day, some basic insight that is helpful in our spiritual life. Words are fascinating. Today I want to consider two words that sound alike but are very different in what they mean and slightly different in how they’re spelled. The words are eruption, spelled with an “e” at the beginning, and irruption, spelled with an “i” at the beginning. The one spelled with an “e” means to come forth from, like lava from a volcano. The one spelled with an “i” means to come into, like an invading army.
Think about those two words in relation to the declaration in Romans 5:5 about the love of God being poured out within our hearts and what Jesus in John 4:14 told the woman at the well about a well of water springing from her soul to eternal life. The love of God irrupts (with an “i”) into our soul, then, as a consequence, a well of water erupts (with an “e”) from our soul. That’s called transformational change! Something outside of us comes into us and thenceforward something new is coming forth from us. There’s a great account of this very thing in all four of the gospels: namely, the account of the feeding of the 5,000. It was a teaching moment.
You remember how it goes: a large crowd has gathered around Jesus. It’s late in the day. Here’s how John in chapter 6 of his gospel explains it: [Jesus] said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” That’s a good, logical question. What’s Jesus up to, anyway? This He was saying to test [Philip], for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. [vss. 5-6]
What Jesus was intending to do was cause an irruption (with an “i”) to happen. The disciples tell Jesus they don’t have enough money to buy food for all these folk. Andrew does mention there is a boy present who has five loaves and two fish, but what use is that to feed this multitude? It would be like spitting into the ocean! Now remember, Jesus knows all this.
Jesus has all the people sit down. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. [v.11] Wasn’t it good of John to include that last detail in this account? None of the other gospels have that particular detail. That makes it all the more amazing that five loaves and two fish could feed that multitude of thousands as much as they wanted. It was a smorgasbord!
Jesus then tells His disciples, Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost. They did so. Lo and behold, they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. [vss. 12-13] No one went away hungry! Also, it would seem each of the disciples who earlier had nothing to feed the people, now each had a basketful of leftover bread which amount to much more than five loaves.
What happened? An irruption (with an “i”) happened. A most remarkable miracle had occurred. God didn’t simply rearrange the furniture, as it were. He didn’t take “matter” that already existed and make adjustments. No, He inserted new matter into our world, matter that had not existed previously, but which remains in the universe as the baskets attest. That, in turn, caused an eruption (with an “e”) from the disciples: This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world. [v.14] This eruption was both praise and confession of faith.
Here’s the point for us today. We do not live in a closed universe. There is more going on than what we see and know. Like the disciples, we see only five loaves and two fish. But Jesus knows what He is intending to do. We should do what He says – as the disciples did – and allow Him room to irrupt (with an “i”) into our lives and situations. We do not know what sort of “But God” moments we will experience. We should stay alert so we can recognize them when they occur. Then we must be certain to erupt (with an “e”) with praise, thanksgiving, and a confession of faith. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!
There you go. That’s it. Erupt and irrupt. May you experience God’s irruptions in your life today and each day, leading to consistent eruptions from your innermost being. Let us pray: Hallelujah! Thank You God, that we don’t live in a universe that’s closed, that has no room for You to act. For You do act. You do speak. You do still work on behalf of Your people. Ah, Lord God, You are the creator of all, there is nothing too difficult for You. We praise You and thank You for Your ongoing goodness to us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.