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Day 2 in the Holy Land – What I Never Noticed About Jesus

March 28, 2014

I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood. I opened my Bible and let the full reality of all He was facing, fall fresh on me.

Day 2 in the Holy Land - What I never noticed about Jesus

I wanted to read the Scriptures leading up to this moment where He sat on Mt. Arbel and prayed and watched the disciples just before walking on water.

But I cautioned myself to read the uncommon sentences. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.

In Mark 5 we see Jesus interacting with a woman desperate to be healed from her bleeding disorder. He frees her from her suffering and gives her peace. And we find Him healing the young daughter of a synagogue ruler.

Miracle!

But we also find in verse 40, “But they laughed at him.”

In Mark chapter 6 we find Jesus sending out the twelve disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v.13.)

Miracle!

But we also find verse 3, “…And they took offense at him.”

We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the five thousand. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.

Miracle!

But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v.31).

Messy realities were in the midst of the miracles.

And isn’t it so like us to miss this about Jesus’ everyday life? We hyper focus on the lines of Scripture containing the miracles so much that we miss the detail of the mess.

Jesus had people laugh at Him and reject Him and misunderstand Him. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him.

Now, here’s what happens to me in my life… I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles.

And that’s the very thing that happens to the disciples right after the feeding of the five thousand. They got in a boat and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.

Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From this spot on Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. Mark 6:47-48, “When the evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”

Day 2 in the Holy Land - What I never noticed about Jesus

Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess.

The same miracle worker that multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then were amazed but they didn’t understand for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened,” (v.52).

It seems to me Jesus has a pattern of doing the miraculous in the setting of messes.

Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence.

I need to spend a whole lot less time trying to fix the messes in my life… and a whole lot more time keeping my heart soft in the process. Then I won’t miss the miraculous work of Jesus in the midst of my mess.

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31 Comments
  1. Nola

    Again – great insight. I hadn’t realized these words before either or heard anyone preach on them. Thanks so much for opening my eyes. We get so discouraged when people don’t notice the wow of what we do when they are in the middle of a mess.

    Reply
    • Lysa Terkeurst

      I love to see new things in Scripture and better understand truth in context. So glad to know this encouraged you.

      Reply
    • Nico Smith

      I ♥ how being in certain situations allows me to experience what Jesus may hae gone through s many years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to visit far off places that …Jesus once walked on; however, reading about them is almost like being there. My hubby, Ron Smith and I listen to WCIC daily, listening to songs like ‘Walk By Faith” that talk about how we can accomplish a lot of things if we strongly believe that God’s caple of doing a lot. “I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood. I opened my Bible and let the full reality of all He was facing, fall fresh on me.

      I wanted to read the Scriptures leading up to this moment where He sat on Mt. Arbel and prayed and watched the disciples just before walking on water.

      But I cautioned myself to read the uncommon sentences. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.

      In Mark 5 we see Jesus interacting with a woman desperate to be healed from her bleeding disorder. He frees her from her suffering and gives her peace. And we find Him healing the young daughter of a synagogue ruler.

      Miracle!

      But we also find in verse 40, “But they laughed at him.”

      In Mark chapter 6 we find Jesus sending out the twelve disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v.13.)

      Miracle!

      But we also find verse 3, “…And they took offense at him.”

      We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the five thousand. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.

      Miracle!

      But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v.31).

      Messy realities were in the midst of the miracles.

      And isn’t it so like us to miss this about Jesus’ everyday life? We hyper focus on the lines of Scripture containing the miracles so much that we miss the detail of the mess.

      Jesus had people laugh at Him and reject Him and misunderstand Him. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him.

      Now, here’s what happens to me in my life… I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles.

      And that’s the very thing that happens to the disciples right after the feeding of the five thousand. They got in a boat and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.

      Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From this spot on Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. Mark 6:47-48, “When the evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”

      Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess.

      The same miracle worker that multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then were amazed but they didn’t understand for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened,” (v.52).

      It seems to me Jesus has a pattern of doing the miraculous in the setting of messes.

      Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence.

      I need to spend a whole lot less time trying to fix the messes in my life… and a whole lot more time keeping my heart soft in the process. Then I won’t miss the miraculous work of Jesus in the midst of my mess.”

      We can’t fix the problems in our lives whatsoever. Sure, we can try; however, there’s absolutely no way we can solve our own problems without having to rely on God’s wnderful inspiring word to lead us to His wonderful world of peace. Whenever life may seem like a mess, God may use that as a way of uplifting our spirit in times of stress. In the midst of my struggles, I see how God has giving me a lot of things that I am already good at. “Pick something you want to commit to doing today. It could be a small task like writing a thank you note or making an appointment. Do it this afternoon. Seriously, right now. I’ll wait right here

      If it’s a larger project try breaking the project into realistic phases…small daily tasks that can be accomplished in the amount of time you have to give each day. And build in a reward system for yourself!”~Lysa TerKeurst What a powerful idea! Ultimately, achieving our goals isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. Nor, is it something we can totally do all by ourselves. Praying to God about what we’d like to see happen is the thing we should do all throughout working to accomplish our ultimate goal. Nevertheless, I know that it’s best to take on one goal at a time, starting out with something small and short-term. Success isn’t going to happen immediately; it’s going to take a lot of practice to get good at what you’re aiming to do.

      Reply
  2. Chris Carter

    Oh Lisa, this speaks to my heart so much. I have been in a HOT mess lately, and I can’t see straight or pray clearly… my vision is tainted and my spirit is crushed. I love this message… I never thought about his miracles and the messes in between.

    Thank you for opening my heart to His Truth and giving me inspiration where I had none. I pray for His Miracles to be alive through all the mess. And that when the wind howls, I will not be distracted, discouraged and dismayed- but trust more in His Divinity. And open my crushing perspective to discover His.

    Reply
  3. Chris Carter

    I can’t believe I spelled your name wrong… please forgive me. 🙁 Now I KNOW we can’t be BFF’s like I hoped. lol

    Lysa Lysa Lysa Lysa……..

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Chris… You are so funny. Even my friends spell it wrong sometimes so you’re in good company. Praying for you right now!

      Reply
  4. Brittany

    This really touched my heart.

    Thank you for sharing your journey through the Holy Land. I’m loving the pictures and scriptures you are sharing.

    Reply
  5. Sandy

    Thanks so much for this insight. In the middle of my own little mess today, these words really help. He truly sees me! What a miracle even that is! I want to stop focusing on the mess, too, and to remember, he sees me, he loves me, and nothing will happen to me outside of his will. Such reassurance. Such grace.

    Thank you, Lysa.

    Reply
  6. Michelle N

    Life was difficult for Jesus and He was constantly living in a mess. Yet, He lived a perfect, sinless life. Thank you for reminding me that even in the midst of all the messiness, miracles are happening. BIG and little. I need to be more conscious of the miracles, even during the chaos of life. Those small moments of beauty tucked deep inside. That’s God’s way of saying, “I’m here.” Thank you Lysa!

    Reply
  7. Liz C

    Thank you once again Lysa. For your insight and the gift of writing God has bestowed upon you. I have felt God’s presence upon me within readin the first sentence! Love it!

    Reply
  8. Bernice

    Thank you Lysa for all your insight and wisdom, the way you explain all this, Truly touches my HEART in so many ways.

    Reply
  9. Judy Williams

    Don’t you think the reason we look for the miracles in scripture is because of the messes in our own lives? We forget that God is as faithful to us as he was to the disciples and those whom he healed.

    Reply
  10. Laura

    Thanks so much for sharing. What a beautiful site. This message is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. My husband is in the middle of making a very big decision and it is so easy to forget God’s promise to always take care of us and not to worry about all the “what if’s”. God is so Good why is it so easy to not trust in that?

    Reply
  11. Kathy Schwanke

    I am currently teaching a class through the gospel of Mark. One reason I’ve been so drawn to your photos on Instagram. This week we are digging into chapter 6. I am going to show them your amazing photo. WHAT a blessing!!!!! To be THERE. Heavens, I’m trying not to be jealous, and SO grateful for you taking the time to connect there to the Living Word.
    Thanks Lysa!!

    Reply
  12. Amanda

    How do we soften our hardened heart?? 🙁

    Reply
    • Dawn

      Amanda, I’m sorry that you’re feeling your heart has hardened. I think the first thing to do is to trust God with your feelings. We don’t have to sugarcoat it for him. I love in Psalms that King David always said exactly what he felt. Start by going to God and telling Him and asking Him to start softening your heart once again. Praying for you.

      Reply
  13. Teresa

    That’s beautiful and the pictures make it feel so real. I forget that Jesus actually sees the mess I’m in and wants to help me. I’m having a very hard time with a family member with so much opposition that I sometimes feel like giving up on my Christianity. I’m being put to the test to see how much I can take before I’ll bend or break it seems. The one person I thought was a Christian is disgustingly carnal and jealous of me on top of it all. Oh well, I keep asking God to show me the way back and so, I thank you Lysa for a sign post. God bless you.

    Reply
  14. Eleanor Crance

    I just returned from a tour of The Holy Land and I will never be the same when I read scripture again! What an experience in walking where my Lord walked, bleed and died for my sin! To sit in the garden an pray, sing and worship was the high light of the trip. I can only say Prise be to God for all my blessings.

    Reply
  15. Sherry

    Lysa,
    Thank you for sharing your visit to the Holy Lands with your readers. You have no idea how much your devotionals encourage me and teach me. You are a blessing to so many women. I love the insight you bring to the scriptures. Thank you for sharing your talents and touching my heart!

    Reply
  16. Hope Hammons

    Lysa,

    You are such an inspiration to me and I so look forward to reading your blogs! I especially loved this one as I am traveling to the Holy Land next year and I cannot wait to experience these things for myself. I love writing and I have recently began a blog of my own. If you ever have free time, it would mean the world to me if you read some of the messages God has placed on my own heart!! Thank you for being such a wonderful role model and sharing the message of Jesus Christ to all of those around you.

    Hope Hammons
    http://hopehammons.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/be-a-message-start-a-movement/

    Reply
  17. Nicole Vacher

    The story of the loves and fishes is my favorite . After feeding all the people Jesus still provided for the disciples! I always wonder what was their thoughts when they saw there was a full basket for each of them after all that!!

    My husband is unsaved and we recently split. I’ve seen this as a mess ! I have four year old son. Who is deaf and was born 1 pound 15 oz! My mirical! I see him every day some times in my new mess I forget how much god has touched our lives and is STILL touching them, my mess is going to be for his glory and will be testament to how awesome and mighty is he is. For he wears the victors crown and has already over came ( cleaned up) our messes!!

    THANK YOU LYSA! For writing this and reminding us that he is God!! I don’t want to be ye of little faith or forget what promises or mirical she has done!! <3

    Reply
  18. Kim Okerson

    Lysa,
    We are in the midst of a complicated medical struggle with my father in law and YET the blessing (what God doesn’t want any of my family to miss )..seeing my husband, step up and perservere to help them, instead of leaving it all up to me. Why did it take me so long to get this? THANK YOU!!!

    Reply
  19. Kim Pittman

    Dear Lysa, the mess we’re going through as a family right now, I just want you to know that through all my tears, this was so needed by me this morning. God bless you sister, you used God’s word to speak directly to my heart and soul. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  20. Samantha Livingston

    I love this. Some great truth of the miracles being in the midst of the messy. In spite of and even because of the messy sometimes. Your descriptions of the locations brings it to life!

    Reply
  21. Samantha Livingston

    I love this. Some great truth of the miracles being in the midst of the messy. In spite of and even because of the messy sometimes. Your descriptions of the locations brings it to life!

    Reply
  22. Jennifer Dougan

    Lysa,

    My parents and a dear friend were in Israel just days before you were there, it seems. Wild. 🙂 They loved their time.

    Thanks for this glimpse into the humanity of Jesus. My mom and I are still appreciating your olive tree post from last time, and seeing it in our own lives at times. Thanks.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    Reply
  23. Lori

    I just wanted to find a place where I can personally thank you for following God’s calling on your life! I have been reading “Unglued” for months…yes, it’s taking me that long lol I have kids 😉 But I can relate to you like I have never been able to relate to any other author. I absolutely LOVE knowing that there is another woman who loves Jesus and has these same struggles. You encourage me to dig deeper, inspire me to work harder, and direct me to pray earnestly! In all sincerity, I thank you for your obedience. I almost had the chance to hear you speak last year at an annual conference I attend but the one year I couldn’t get a babysitter… 🙁 I’m still heartbroken about it! I am blessed by your works. Keep going!

    Reply
  24. Cheryl Baxter

    Lysa,

    Thank you so much for your Easter blog. My heart has been heavy lately, and I haven’t felt the closeness to God that I once did. Seeing where Jesus made His journey, and listening to your wise words about his struggles brings me back to the very clear reality. Jesus does love me so much…after all, He died for me. I often forget that Jesus was human, and had the same feelings that I experience. Once again, I thank you.

    Cheryl

    Reply
  25. Lois Grubb

    Hey Lysa, not sure if this is where I should try to reach you or not, we are beginning your study What Happens When Women Say Yes To God on Tues the 8th. I thought I signed up for your e-mails, but, I only received one no the 28th of March, nothing in the spam folder either. Can you please see what I am not doing correctly????? Many thanks, loving your book already!!!!!!

    Reply
  26. Christina Fuchs

    Lysa you are so right about us trying to fix our messes and miss the miracle in the mist of it all. I am going through some hard times right now, but three years ago I was going through some messes also and now it’s gotten worst. I use to just lay in bed and just wanted to die and I would cry and have headaches, just trying to get through each day. But now I share with some of the ladies that I can’t go to that place again, now I am spending time with my Lord and Savior in His word and praying. I had missed the miracle now the miracle is with me. before I got lost in time with out praying, reading His word, spending time with Him. Now He has restored that for me in the mist of my struggles. Now I can pray not just for me first but the Lord shows me for who through His word. I am spending time with Him and I can hear His voice, I cry because the miracle is with me all day long, even when the winds come and I feel blown over He picks me up dust me off and put’s me back in the front lines. Thank You so much for sharing what God has shown you to share.

    Reply
  27. 'Yemisi Odusanya

    Thank you so very much Lysa, this wonderful piece of yours drives home the point even more. . .’no miracles without the mess. . .’ ‘ . . . there is a miracle in every mess. . .’
    Its one thing to identify the mess, yet another to be able to identify with the miracles!
    Thank you Jesus for the privilege of experiencing both the mess and the miracles. . .LIFE!

    Reply
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