God seems to lead me often with niggles and jabs. Jabs are more direct. They stop you momentarily in your tracks with a sense that something is important. That you need to pay attention. Niggles are less direct, kinda like a faint idea dancing in the back of your brain somewhere that you ought to focus.
I was reading John 2:1-11, the story about Jesus turning water into wine, and got nothing in particular out of it. Nothing but a niggle. A niggle to keep digging. I get that a lot, actually — a nagging sense that I should or shouldn’t do something. This time I was niggled to not move on in my reading of John until I’d learned what I was supposed to.
That was three days ago. Day one, all I had were questions. What’s going on here, God? Why does Jesus even do this miracle? Why did he say, “Why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come,” and then do a miracle anyway? What’s the significance of using ceremonial urns to hold the wine? Why 6 of them?
Day two I made some progress, adding to my list of questions without answers. Niggle niggle. Niggle niggle. Okay, okay. I’ll keep at it. Then today, WHOOSH. The dam breaks and God gets through to me with all kinds of cool stuff I never would have seen unless I responded to the niggling by niggling the passage myself. No room to wiggle under a good niggle, I tell ya.
This post is about niggling, but I will share a few nuggets. I think Jesus was teasing Mary. Seriously. “C’mon, ma. Leave me alone, wink wink.” And she rolls her eyes and says, “Sure. Right. Guys, do whatever he tells you.” Funny! And the whole miracle helped the disciples put their faith in him. So it’s supposed to do that for us, too. I can’t really get into it right now but I’ll post a link to my sermon this Sunday cause I’m using this stuff for the second half of my message, which wouldn’t write itself until I used my niggle material.
Niggles. Go figure.