Thursday, September 26, 2013
FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE: KEEP TURNING
Yesterday I found myself stirred to a boil with confusion and frustration and finally screamed to God that I hated what was going on and I needed Him to reign me in and help me deal with all the changes He was asking of me and that I was fighting, tooth and nail. I won’t bother you with what it all was or is, but I will say this: He answered me and He answered me well.
Perhaps you remember that in a recent blog I suggested that Christian fiction can be a wonderful tool for seeing ourselves as we really are. One book that I picked out of our library came in handy Sunday night when I could not sleep because I simply was not sleepy. I have a new lamp that helps me read at night, so I got up, sat in my reading chair and found myself getting really upset with the progression of the heroine’s life and the “obvious” mistaken choices she was making purely out of grit and self determination. At 4am I put the book aside, thinking I might not pick it up again, and went to bed and to sleep.
But, the truth is that I have been very frustrated about making any decisions at all for quite a while and I was so edgy that everyone around me was tensing at my presence. By last night I knew that the truth was that I was deeply angry. I had become empty of Joy and Peace and Patience which had taken a far back seat to “snarkism” and I just had to do something about it. So, just before bed, I confessed to God exactly how I was feeling; once again confessing to Him that I really did hate being angry and needed His help and guidance strongly and powerfully.
Well - He kept me awake. I tossed and turned and tossed again until finally I got up and came out to read again. I picked up the book and plowed in. Now, I know that many will say that I should have picked up my Bible. But sometimes what I am seeking is not findable in the mood that I am in, so I picked up the book. It also has bigger print than the Bible and is easier to read in artificial light.
And it is true that the answer I was looking for was exactly the same as the answer which came to the mother in this story: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Plus: But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory (vs. 19).
She had been tossing away her life, and the ability to influence her daughter’s life by working, working, working and forcing her life into a box which God never planned for her. I have been making plans and decisions for my life without really giving God a voice in the matter. I was doing what seemed right according to Christian custom, rather than giving all my needs to Him to handle. And, here, I mean ALL my needs, not just financial or physical comfort needs, but my spiritual and mental and heart needs as well. I had a list longer than my arm that I felt needed to be addressed and I constantly laid plans to achieve those things. And I constantly fell on my face.
It was no wonder that I was so critical of this fictional woman. She was me: Different setting; different world; same stupid decisions. This morning - well late this morning - I had a wonderful time with my God as we reviewed Sunday’s sermon in Judges. I loved every minute of it, for a change. There, in Judges we will be seeing the circle of sin, brokenness, repentance, God’s forgiveness and full assistance, peace for a time, then sin again as it occurs over and over and over during these many years of life in the promised land. And I witnessed my own circle of sin as I take the reigns of my life back from God and crash and have to return to Him again and again repenting and asking for help in walking a straight path with Him once more. It is a little “dizzifying.”
As I see it, the hope we have in this life is that our walks with Him will be longer and longer before we turn away and take over the reigns again, falling into old patterns until we crash and burn. And our hope in Him, that we can absolutely count on, is that He will always pick us up, dust us off, and help us walk at His side once again, when we come confessing and pleading with Him to do so.
The turning and asking is so very important. God did not refrain from refusal to help the Israelites – and His actual plotting against them – until they cried out in their pain, confessing their sin and asking for His help. That is really not too much for Him to expect of us, is it?
After all, we are sinners, and we will be until the time when see Him face to face. So we better keep that in mind and keep turning to Him with confession and surrender if we desire any peace and comfort in this walk through time on this earth.
Father, may we recognize our jitters and frustrations in daily living to be signs of trying too hard to accomplish the walk of our life on our own, in our own minds and with our own strength. May we always turn back to you to find the peace, comfort and strength we need to be useful to you as a light in the world around us. And may we be blessings to others today, in Jesus name. Amen.