I’m sitting here looking at my blank computer screen, wondering how on earth to write this post. I write better when I can be totally up-front and honest about life. But sometimes I can’t be that way because some matters are private, involving issues and people that prevent open sharing.
Was that catchy enough? Do I have your attention now? HaHa!
I really wasn’t trying to reel you in with my first few sentences. I am, like I said, just being honest.
Recently, Gary and I had a “thing” happen. It’s easy to say the typical phrases that we often here, such as what I just said. “Things happen.” Or here’s another one – “Life happens.”
Yet as a follower of Christ, I know better. I don’t get upset when others, or when I, make those statements.
“You know, things just happen,” I have often said.
But again, I know better. I know that God is the One Who is in charge of my life and who allows every single “thing” in my life to happen. In reality, my “things” don’t just happen…they are permitted or ordained by God. I am His child and He is in charge of all aspects of my life.
Most often, when we say that “things” happen, we’re not referring to happy “things.” Usually, we are talking about stressful “things.”
Gary and I have had some recent stress. Don’t we all? We had to make the difficult decision to put our sweet Great Dane, Jackson, to sleep. Not long after that, Aaron had a drop seizure on our stairs and ended up with eight staples in his head. And then this “thing” intruded into our lives. It’s not a happening that occurred, and then is over and done. It’s more like a dark cloud of long-term wrong that will hover over us…well, forever, really.
All these “things”…all this stuff, plus many more daily stresses…can just be overwhelming and exhausting. But two other “things” have taken place as well…in my heart, which is the best place for God to work HIS things.
One “thing” is that my mother’s favorite verse has been rolling around in my head for days now. It’s Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
I love, though, the meaning of “be still.” This is how I have been saying this verse recently: “Quit striving, and know that I am God.”
I can’t make “things” not happen. I can’t always change situations. And even if I try, the doors often remain closed. The damage is done.
I have a mental image of being tied up with ropes. Those ropes are the “things” that have or are happening in my life. I twist and turn and pull and flex against those awful ropes, trying to be free. But God wants me to stop that! He wants me to relax and to simply trust Him…to rest, and to know that He is God. And as God, He will handle all my “things.”
All this sounds so good, doesn’t it? So spiritual and so right. But how on earth…really, how on this old sinful stressful earth…do I quit striving?
God gave me a huge part of that answer over the past few days. It’s found in the first few verses of Psalm 27.
David talks about his “things.” He says that evildoers want to devour his flesh. He is surrounded by enemies, adversaries, and whole armies…literally…who want to destroy him. He was living in caves as he tried to survive. His treatment by King Saul was totally unjust and evil.
It’s awful to be hated. It’s awful to be the recipient of unjust treatment. It’s awful to be on the run, either mentally or physically…running from the pain and the wrong and the hurt.
So, in verse 4, David says, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek…”
Let me stop to say that I can tell you what my one thing usually is when hard times come, especially injustice. My one thing is to think that if I could only talk to this person or to these people, I’d tell them a thing or two! Or on a nicer slant, my one thing may be to try to have a pleasant, open talk with them. Surely, they will listen! Just give me one chance, Lord, to handle my situation…whatever it is…by doing that one thing that will make ME feel better.
But what was David’s one thing? He asked God to let him behold His beauty in the tabernacle, to meditate and to dwell in the temple.
In other words, David’s one thing was to worship God.
And there is the answer to my question about how to quit striving against my “things.”
David’s one thing that he asked of God when he was going through all of his awful “things” was the opportunity to once again worship God in the tabernacle.
“There is only one place where your heart can be healed, restored, satisfied, and protected. It won’t be healed by winning human wars. It won’t be satisfied in human acceptance. It won’t be restored when you have meted out vengeance. It will only be filled, satisfied, and at rest when it is filled with the beauty of the Lord.” (Paul Tripp)
When I focus on God, I am not focusing on my “things.” I am instead aware of God’s greatness in the middle of my “things.” His power is what upholds me. His plan, however vague and unknown it may be to me, is one which I can accept because in God’s beauty I see His love for me. I experience His peace and His grace when my eyes are on Him, and not on my “things.”
We all have those hard “things.” Some of you are enduring much more difficult “things” than mine. May we all learn to worship God even when we are surrounded by our pain and fears and sadness.
Then to rest…quit striving…and let God be God in our lives.
“Quit striving, and KNOW that I am God!”