“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler of Israel, whose origins are form of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5.2
Maranatha means “Come, Lord Jesus!” in Aramaic. It’s the very last thing we read in the Bible, exclaimed by the Apostle John at the end of Revelation, and it has been the deep-down cry of my heart in this recent season. I am hungry for more of Jesus, desperate for His presence. And, fittingly both in this season as well as for the first day of Advent, I read that little verse spoken by the prophet Micah almost 3,000 years ago.
Do not be afraid of small beginnings.
Our Lord Jesus, the One whose is our source of life and hope, chose to make His presence known first in a small way. A small town, a tiny family, a little room, a humble home. What an encouraging remembrance for me in this current season. Approaching my final semester in nursing school, I am already starting to fear what life will look like come May. I don’t feel prepared, I don’t feel confident. I feel small, unsure, and (honestly), sometimes I feel afraid. Fast-forward even further down the road of next year, and I’m potentially facing a set of major decisions that would affect most of the areas in my life. Am I ready for this? Can I stand up in a sustainable way in this?
Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem reminds me of one of my favorite verses from the prophetic books. It’s a sneaky one, tucked into a fantastic passage in which God gently rebukes His people to remain faithful in obedience despite lack of clear understanding.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4.10
Don’t disregard small, slow starts. In fact, remember that, more often than not, God purposefully orchestrates these small beginnings. Moses started from a mother’s desperate decision in uncertainty. Ruth decided to keep walking toward Judea. Timothy sat around the supper table with his mother and grandma. God chooses, God uses small beginnings.
“’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12.9