Remnant (n): a small remaining quantity of something. Synonyms: remains, remainder, leftovers
Guy and I are not remnant kind of people. Guy will only (maybe) eat leftovers if they are homemade, and we both see little bits, and scraps, and extras as eye sores that belong in the trash can. Remnants do not last long in our home.
But, my friend Candice loves remnants. She savors the little bits that remain. In college, I would see a juice glass on top of the microwave with — I kid you not — ONE sip left, and I would eagerly take it to the sink to dump it and get rid of the clutter in the kitchen. But just as I was about to toss the tiny bit of liquid in the sink, another roommate would say, “Oh, Candice is saving that!” Excuse me, what?! Why didn’t she just finish it when she was 98% done with it already?
But then Candice would come home after a workout, and she would enjoy that remaining little sip of orange juice with such satisfaction saying it was,”just enough to enjoy!”
She does the same thing with other materials, too. She sees leftover packing paper from when they moved years ago, the ribbon that was around a bunch of flowers she bought at the grocery store, and the front of a used greeting card as cherished prizes to be crafted together into the most beautifully wrapped birthday gift you have ever seen.
We tease her for her “hoarding,” but really, she’s just loves the remnants. Just like God does.
“Two-thirds of the people in the land will be cut off and die, says the Lord. But a third will be left in the land. I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure, just as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”Zechariah 13:8-9
The “third” was a remnant, a small part of the whole. Throughout the history of Israel, whenever the whole nation seemed to turn against God, God saw that a righteous remnant still trusted and followed him. These believers were refined like silver and gold through the fire of their difficult circumstances so that after the fire, they would shine more brilliantly than ever before.
God provides for, protects, and shows Himself faithful to the remnant that remain faithful to Him.
Determine with me to be part of God’s remnant, that small part of the whole that is obedient to Him no matter what. Obey and seek God no matter what the rest of the world does. That may mean trials and troubles at times, but as fire purifies gold and silver, God promises to use this refining process to make us more like Christ.
In Noah’s time, only Noah and his family remained faithful to God when the entire human race around them turned their backs on Him — so only Noah and his family were saved from the flood. But their salvation didn’t come easy or without struggle and difficulty. Forty days on a dark boat during a storm that wiped out life doesn’t exactly sound dreamy to me. But they were the remnant who remained faithful, and God protected them.
I wonder what fiery circumstances you may be facing. Can you trust that every hardship He allows is purifying and refining you? Can you stand the heat a little longer clinging to the promise that:
“…When you walk through the fire,Isaiah 43:2-3
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
I think my very favorite example of God using remnants is found in the New Testament. A boy had eaten as much of his lunch as he wanted, or maybe he hadn’t eaten it at all (much to his mother’s constant frustration, I’d imagine), and there were five small pieces of bread and two fish left (John 6:1-15). Thousands of people needed a meal, and this one small lunch was all that could be found in the crowd. The situation looked dire to the disciples. But that’s not how Jesus saw the situation at all. There was a remnant, and He asked for it. No one could have guessed that the food in the boy’s basket would not only become the provision for the moment but the basis for one of Jesus’ greatest miracles followed which proved He was the bread of life!
God does miracles with remnants. And He can do miracles in and through us with whatever we offer Him. Faith of a mustard seed in the midst of doubt? He’ll take it. Energy just to whisper a two-word prayer? Perfect. One cookie to take a lonely neighbor? You may never even know the impact…
Candice taught me not to toss out the remnants but to treasure them. May we not forget the value in the seemingly smallest things.
Because with Jesus, you have exactly enough. He loves a remnant.