November 19, 2012

Saving Faith

John 3:1-8

A Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus … came to Jesus at night…
—John 3:1-2


God has a way of using the fogginess of daily life to lead us to surrender more fully to him. He often connects with us through our need for faith when a crisis hits, and he leads us through our need for direction. Along the way we simply need to be sustained, which requires yet another step of faith toward him. Each step of faith involves a kind of mini-surrender, leading us closer to the God we can sometimes barely see through our fog.

At some point along this path of surrender our mini-surrenders add up to one big mega-surrender. We reach a tipping point where we not only surrender part of our life; we totally surrender our life to God’s direction.

We realize that, fog or not, there are things in life that we just can’t fix or control.

We realize we need to be saved.

One night a Pharisee came to see Jesus. Though he may not have realized it at the time, he was being drawn toward his tipping point. Nicodemus met with Jesus secretly because he was uneasy about connecting with Jesus in a more public way. But Jesus still listened and reached out to him, saying he needed to be saved—to be born again.

Nicodemus squinted at Jesus through the shadows of that nighttime encounter. He just couldn’t see the truth at that time. But eventually he would. (See John 7:50-51; 19:38-39.)

Lord, sometimes we are blind to your will in our lives. Open our eyes to what we might otherwise never choose to see. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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