There are two kinds of hearts in this world. Those that get softer by absorbing and accepting their trials and those that harden.
Those that soften are humble. Those that harden are prideful.
Those that soften understand that nobody owes them anything, especially not God
Those that harden think the entire universe owes them, and disdain God
There is a sorting taking place. Soft hearts and even some hardened hearts are penatent, and finding freedom in the midst of confusion, chaos, and hardship.
The remainder of the hard hearts are already beyond the point of no return.
Sometimes it’s not a hard heart, though. Sometimes there is a congenital super-sensitivity that requires growing a tough ” skin”. There are people whose capacity of natural empathy is so potent they feel the pain of others.
Life in a fallen world growing darker every day can be excruciating for caring people, and pulling back may be reflexive. May even be necessary.
A person can willfully stop caring for the sake of their own survival. Don’t stop caring, but don’t let the devil taunt you with the things you can’t do.
Jesus felt everything. There is nothing we can witness, nothing we can endure that He can’t understand. He is a ” man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”.
The hardest thing for me to believe Jesus can relate to, is our failures. Though He never failed, He is omniscient, therefore He does understand.
Why, then, do we avoid Him when we don’t measure up to all that He deserves for us to, in our praise, in our faith in Him. Why can’t we rest in Him?
I think probably, it’s because we simply won’t.
We feel like we should be able to do better. But that’s the fallacy in our thinking. Anything we can do, is useless to God. What He can use is people who realize “I can’t”. Unfortunately, He sometimes has to allow some formidable circumstances to get us to that point. We don’t even realize it when we are doing it, but we will try to arm-wrestle God.
And that’s just, well it’s plain stupid!
Now, we feel foolish, sheepish if you will, when we finally “get it”. Hopefully we don’t have our “performance” so elevated in our own minds, that we can’t laugh at ourselves when we take such a me-centered perspective. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing your best, but when we think we could have done better even after we have done our best, it ceases to be pleasing to God because He already knows what we can and cannot do, can or cannot endure. You see, there is “pride”, and then there is “inverted pride”.
What does that mean, you ask?
Lets say your neighbor is also a believer, and started out with a similar standard of living as you, but over the years, he rises in his profession and his standard of living rises along with it. You find yourself thinking something like “must be nice!” or you tisk tisk and think “getting pretty worldly over there, neighbor!”
After all, you have worked just as hard at your job, you have given to people in need, even sacrificed some luxuries, because you “see” the plight of others and know the right thing is to help them if you have it to give. But inside you wonder why that guy rates those material blessings and you don’t.
That is upside-down and inside-out pride.
That’s what the parable of the laborers in the vinyard is about in Matthew 20: 1-15
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”
Even if we do our absolute best for the Lord, He still doesn’t owe us anything! Everything He gives is given of grace. If we got what we really “deserved” we’d all go to hell. Whatever our life looks like at this moment, it s better than we deserve.
Right now, we are living in very sobering and somber times. God is not a hard, cruel, or partial master. Keep things in proper perspective. Though things happen in this life that we can’t make sense of, you either believe in a just and merciful God, or things like what has befallen America, as well as the egregious developments in Afghanistan due to the dereliction of duty on the part of the Commander in Cheat and Defens(ive) Secretary, will rattle your faith significantly, or will start a fire of anger that will only result in heartburn, ulcers, and irritability that will slosh over on people around you.
GOD’S GOT THIS!!
So if you are feeling torn up, overwhelmed with doubts or are borrowing trouble in the form of what-ifs, take some deep breaths. You know all that the Bible says on faith! So believe and have peace. Take a quick short walk, put on praise music or listen to reading of scripture as you go about your day. Do not project ahead. Block out yesterday, tomorrow, and anything that you have zero power to alter. Look and think on only what is right in front of you. Pray while you clean, drive, eat, dress, and if you work an intense, focused job, just work, then on your breaks, walk a bit, deep breathe, pray. Plaster some faith verses in your work space, and over the sink and on mirrors in your home.
I got through some real tough times by doing those things. We are very near to the end. If you must watch/ hear news, set a limit for doing it, and make Israeli news a part of it, because they are the indicator. Their government is fractured and unstable like ours. They have continually made strikes in Syria the past month and more, and this development in Afghanistan plus Biden’s removal of sanctions on Iran, plus years of effort on the part of John Kerry, all those things have rendered Israel perfectly set up for a major strike by Iran.
This administration hates Israel. If we “don’t have the
resources (will) to transport large numbers of people out of Afghanistan, then coming to the aid of Israel won’t even be considered. See, America’s military doesn’t have to be decimated (though domestic enemies are trying), and Americans don’t have to have all turned against Israel, for us not to intervene. All there has to be is an utter reprobate calling the shots. It doesn’t matter if the face of that reprobate is a doddering old white man, an egomaniacal black man, or a Chinese dictator (my money’s on door # 3, facilitated by #2), but not one of them is going to have the last word. When it comes down to your own personal world, He will fight for you, you need only to be still. Be still and know that He is God.