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Grace Notes

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DO YOU REMEMBER RHODA? GOD DOES.
by Philip Owen

       Big things impress us. There is a small town, Casey, Illinois, not too far from where I live that advertises being the home of perhaps several dozen of the world’s largest objects: the world’s largest rocking chair; the world’s largest wind chime, the world’s largest mailbox, shovel, golf tee, etc. It has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. We live in a world that gravitates toward the supersized. Needless to say, God does big things. But the God of the infinite is also the God of the infinitesimal. And the latter is as marvelous and astonishing as the former. Yes, the immeasurable expanse of the universe beggars description as do God’s many mighty miracles subsequent to creation. God’s ability to uphold the universe by the word of His power, for example, or His capacity to hear a million prayers all at once and to answer each personally and individually takes our breath away. On the other hand, no scientist can explain what keeps the positively-charged protons in the nucleus of an atom from flying apart, nor how the twenty-plus microscopic “machines” that must operate in each and every cell single cell in order for it to function could be engineered and brought together and made to work in harmony in such minute space. Only God knows; only God can do the infinitesimally miraculous. Were we to delve into the uncountable minutiae necessary to maintain the complexities of existence on our planet, we would have begun a research project without end. Yet God knows and controls every microscopic and sub-microscopic element that is our universe.

      Those old enough to remember the magnificent temple built by Solomon wept at the sight of the restoration temple because it was insignificant in appearance by comparison. Through the prophet Zechariah, God rebuked that perspective, saying, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10). Externally splendid? No. But it was constructed in accord with God’s will and purposes, and so it had a grandeur far beyond the material. Each and every thing God does is worthy of note and cause for praise.

      It is of infinite credit, not only to God’s wisdom and understanding, but to His great love, that He is interested in and concerned with tiny things that we feel are beneath our attention. Are you discouraged or disappointed because you have travelled a significant distance down life’s path and have yet to produce your magnum opus? Have your great plans fallen apart, your ambitions not come to fruition? Do you sometimes feel as though you are foundering in the backwaters of life? If so, you are measuring things with the wrong instrument. Some of God’s mightiest works fail to be recognized by the carnal observer.

      Have you given any thought to the account of Peter’s arrest and imprisonment under Herod? We are told that while he languished in prison, “many were gathered together and were praying” (Acts 12:12). Luke identifies the owner of the home in which these many saints met to pray as belonging to “Mary, the mother of John, who was also called Mark” (Acts. 12:12). Beyond that, not one attendee is mentioned by name. Were disciples there? Perhaps other illustrious saints? Surely, among them were believers who played a significant role in the development of the early church? Yet not one of them is named. They were meeting in order to do a God-ordained and God-honoring service: to pray. Yet not one of them is named. Furthermore, they were meeting to pray for the release of Peter, the chief apostle. Yet not one of them is named.

      Nevertheless inspiration has chosen to record the name of “a servant-girl” (v. 13), one who was in all likelihood at the bottom of the pecking order in that household. Rhoda! Little, insignificant Rhoda. She heard a knock at the gate, saw and recognized that it was Peter, and with great joy ran to tell those who were holding a prayer meeting for him that he was at the gate, insisting against their faithless objections that God had answered their prayers. Even though in her joy she forgot to let Peter in, God was pleased to record her name. Why? Because she immediately rejoiced in God’s answer to prayer and testified faithfully to what God had done. What a “little” thing that was.  What a great thing God deemed it to be. Nothing done for God is a small service—certainly not in His eyes at least. Be thankful God has allowed us to do the “little things.” They are not insignificant if God wills them.

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