Get Over Yourself!
When I was about seventeen, my Mom gave me a teeny tiny little orange wooden plaque with Psalm 37:4 written on it: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. I adopted that verse as my life verse. I recognized that it was a promise from God and my heart thrilled at having it given to me permanently memorialized in that little trinket from my Mom. It was immediately special and I still have it on a shelf where I can see it every day.
God’s Word is an ointment, a balm of good health for our living if we will apply it correctly. When we are young, or new Christians, we can and often do, easily mis-apply the Word. In my young mind, at that age, the thing that my heart desired most, other than my relationship with the Lord, was that I would meet a Christian guy that I would want to date. That is a pretty normal pre-occupation for a young lady at that age. Keep in mind that in my case, college wasn’t an option. My relationship with the Lord was top priority, but having some “special someone” was right up there on the list.
What I have learned, though, is that God must first give our hearts the most holy of desires, and then He will proceed to grant them. This will make no sense to you if you are not a Christian, and it you are a Christian and it still doesn’t make sense to you, well give it time. He’ll get you there. He’ll get you there faster if you are cooperative. Most of us aren’t, though.
Life is complicated.
We live in a world that prides itself on solving complex problems, riddles, puzzles, equations. We place a high premium upon our own ability to wade into a massive tangle of facts or circumstances, and unraveling them. We value and admire knowledge and capability. To me, learning is wonderfully fun and appeals to my inborn natural curiosity. Solomon said “Of making many books, there is no end, and much study is weariness of the flesh”. Paul wrote to Timothy about silly women who were “ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth”. I dare say that applies to men as well.
The younger a person is, the less awareness we typically have of anything future. We live in the now. With only a few years of existence under our belt, a decade might as well be a century. The longer we live, the more our concept of time often changes. Most people in their forties and fifties and older, especially if they are parents, will concur that “time flies”. Life is short, and eternity is forever. But a person has to live a pretty good number of years before they begin to really understand this. Patience has never been my strong suit, I can tell you that! And anyone who is trying to live a righteous life in this increasingly depraved world, is bound to have some frustrations now, as I do.
In our family, we feel strongly about good stewardship. Whatever we have belongs to the Lord, and we try to keep that in mind and hold onto “things and money” with a loose hand, knowing that there will be times that God may choose to make provision for another, using resources that are currently under our stewardship. We know this because we’ve seen the principle in action many times over the years, sometimes from the giving end, other times on the receiving end.
But there are also times in life when we look around and it just seems like operating under that system doesn’t quite pay off as generously as the worlds way of doing things. Do you ever feel like that? Like you eek by week by week, month to month, seldom if ever having more than “just enough” to cover the absolute necessities. It can be disheartening. Which is why God gave us scripture passages like Psalm 37!
Do you wonder why the evildoers seem to prosper? You probably listened to the State of the Union address recently. Did your hackles rise up as you heard all the false “righteous indignation” that was gushing? Did you feel like Joe the Plumber? Are you one of the hard-working folk who studies to quietly go about the work of your own hands, never asking anything of anyone, who has been recently “robbed by Robinhood” in order to provide for the “poor downtrodden” illegals and even terrorists bent on destroying the country you love?
Fret not thyself because of the evildoers. Their sword shall enter their own heart! The Lord forsaketh not His saints, they are preserved forever; but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The wicked watcheth the righteous and seeketh to slay him, but the Lord will not leave him (the righteous) in his hand (the hand of the wicked), nor condemn him (the righteous) when he is judged. Wait on the Lord and keep HIs way, and he shall exalth thee to inherit the land.
You see, we have a wondrous inheritance. There will come a day when the endless toil of this life (which is futile due to the curse) will have ended. The curse will be lifted from this Earth some day. But those wicked will not enjoy that. God loves those wicked people, (I know, right?) and this is all the “good” and all the “pleasure” they will ever know, if they are so enamored by the tainted pleasures of life that they are prepared to lose their soul in order to “gain the whole world”. God is not handicapped as we are, in our ability to project into the eternal future. We have to get past the present moment first. We have to get past the mound of medical debt, the cost of health insurance, our shrinking 401k’s, our impending layoff, and you can fill in the blanks with whatever dreaded something you are contending with at the moment.
Life truly is complicated. As Christians, we have a responsibility to walk circumspect, redeeming the time, for the days are evil. How does one “redeem” time. To buy or win back. To make acceptable. We must be diligent as we consider what ministry to support, being sure of the ethics of the charity or ministry. We must be diligent in the Word, being sure the pastor we are under is not mishandling the Word. We must consider our words and deeds, as we are an example to unbelievers and newer Christians and our own children and there is a penalty for being a stumbling block.
For me, it is very easy for me to feel badly about myself as a person because my conditions make it nearly impossible to maintain sustained employment for any substantial period of time. But the thing is, they don’t prevent me from praying. They don’t prevent me from writing. They don’t prevent me from studying the Word. Really, God has done something in my life to facilitate my ability and liberty to focus on the things that matter most and can give the most peace and stability. Because if you can have peace in the face of, well, whatever, then that is more than half the battle!
Yes, life is complicated, but faith is not. Faith is simple. Not easy a lot of the time, but simple! I might have to check up on my pastor, my favorite charity, my employees, my kids, but God, who is Truth Itself, is utterly trustworthy. There is no background check to be done. There are no references to call.
I either believe or I don’t. Wow. Finally, something that is simple. Not complicated. He’s got it all under control. Right? God is able to stand back and allow us to go through life’s trials because He knows much better than we do, what awaits us on the far side of the veil. We will lay down our burdens and feel no more pain and cry no more tears.
Man, I thought I was ahead of the game because I recognize that common sense is worth a whole lot more in this world than any number of facts, figures and philosophies. Street smarts will get you further than book smarts in most cases. But see, that is a standard limited to the scope of the Earthly realm.
There is something bigger and higher to shoot for! I am more than this life. We were all created to be more than this life, but the sin-curse has truncated our potential. Christ restores that. He redeems us if we come to Him for redemption. Have you ever gotten hold of faith, only to find something in your “common sense” that contradicts it? Here is where the rubber meets the road, man! You can trust Christ where you can’t even trust common sense and “intuition”. As Oswald Chambers put it: “You have to come down into the demon-posessed valley and meet with facts that laugh ironically at the whole of your mount-of-transfiguration belief. Let me say ‘My God shall supply all my needs’, and then let me run dry, with no outlook, and see whether I will go through the trial of faith, or whether I will sink back to something lower.”
Faith that is not tested can’t be owned! But we have to get over ourselves before we can have that kind of faith. We have to stop being impressed by our own “wisdom” and “common sense”, and our pride in our own ingenuity.
If you run through a trial that “kills your faith” your faith was never in God to begin with, it was in something else. Maybe it was a god of your own imagination. Maybe you have ideas of God that did not come from His own description of Himself. (Read the Word, read it some more, hear what He’s saying!) Being disappointed in your imagined version of God, and therefore getting mad at actual God, and moving away from Him as a result, well, that is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. That is like letting bitterness eat you up inside because you refuse to forgive someone. You only cheat yourself.