“Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” – Job 2:10
There seem to be four things in our lives that are complex in how they are intertwined together and yet collectively they seem to account for much of the stress, fear, anxiety, doubt and discouragement in our lives.
These four things are:
* Absence of the Presence of the Lord
* The concept of busyness and what is important
I know at first glance you are probably at a loss. Let me take a moment to explain.
In our lives there are always occurrences, circumstances, experiences and occasions. In other words: life happens. For some unknown reason we seem to always want to designate these happenings into one of two categories: good or bad. We do this with people, attitudes, emotions, circumstances and so on and so forth. We get it in our head that somehow we are able to determine through our own wisdom and knowledge what is good or bad, and what is harmful or helpful. Not only this but we seem to be quite good at it. We make snap judgments about things, circumstances and people and “know” within a few seconds, moments or hours how what we see before us is either good or bad. Furthermore we (subconsciously?) place the good and bad things on an imaginary scale in our mind and when the balance tips so far one way or the other we are then able to make judgments about whether our life is good or bad. This is foolish, stressful and dis-honors God. Yet we do it.
As a result of what we see as an accumulation of bad things in our lives and the subsequent “tipping of the scales” that “clearly” shows that our lives aren’t going well then we turn to God (and others) and begin complaining about how unfair it all is. We moan about how we don’t deserve these things and that clearly our own motives and good choices/deeds should demonstrate that God should be doing more nice things for us instead of heaping all these bad things on us.
Coupled with our judgments and our complaining is a disastrous third reality, and that is that much of the time there is an absence of the manifest presence of God in our lives. Indeed God gives us the Holy Spirit as a deposit upon our salvation and furthermore He cleanses us and sanctifies us as we journey on with Him in surrender and consecration however much of the time we find ourselves simply too busy to stop and call on the Lord. And in case you hadn’t noticed: even though He fills us, we leak.
And there is one more deadly behavior in our lives and that is our constant busyness and our personal viewpoint of what is important. We stay so busy because it makes us feel important, accomplished and like our lives have meaning. We stay busy because it brings us accolades and acceptance from people around us. We stay busy because then we don’t have to listen to God’s still small voice or finally deal with some of the things that He has already told us have been eating us alive. And so we grab on to what we think is important (judgments again?) and we stay busy. Too busy to pray. Too busy to listen to God. Too busy to read His word. Too busy to obey.
When these four things converge, we self-destruct We worry and are seized by guilt and fear. Guilt for not listening to God. Fear of not being able to face the future because we aren’t sure God is with us because we have been ignoring Him. A lack of peace because we are not dwelling in the Presence of the Prince of Peace.
So what is the answer to all of this?
Not to down-play it, but I believe it is quite simple: receive everything in your life as it is (that really is the only way we can receive anything anyway). Then take those things to the Father in prayer. Wait desperately, hungrily, patiently for the Lord. Let God tell us what is good and bad. Let God reveal to us what is important and what we should be doing.
I believe that if we believed and followed these verses, God could truly deliver us from this wretched cycle of fear and self-destruction:
* “By myself I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just because I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.” – Jesus (John 5:30)
* “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
* “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” – Psalms 37:7
* “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” – Job 2:10
* “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” – Psalm 40:1
So accept everything in your life as it is. Take is to the Lord in prayer. Wait patiently for the Lord and place all things before Him for His judgments and His loving influence upon all things. Don’t try and measure life by standards of importance and success, instead let God reveal His will. And then lovingly, cheerfully and faithfully obey. Be still in His Presence and let His peace and His Spirit give you life abundant and life everlasting!!
Let us say with the Psalmist: Oh Lord, “set me in Your Presence forever”. (Psalm 41:12)