Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

This Place is Not Our Home

I have to, am compelled to, speak the truth regardless of the consequences. Have you been here before? Pleading with a person, “Please, don’t make that choice! It will end badly. Please, make a better choice.” It seems to fall on deaf ears. They will make the choices they will make. And you hope and you pray that something, a word, a phrase, might turn them around, or convince them to make a better choice.

I think back to the many times I was on the precipice of making some poor choices. I don’t remember anyone saying to me, “Stop! Don’t do this! What are you thinking?!” And though my mistakes, my sins, were fully mine, I wonder if someones words would have changed my trajectory, and I might have made different choices. I don’t know the answer to that, nor will I, but I have determined that in the relationships I am able, to be a voice of truth. To tell the truth of Christ and his Word, with love, regardless of the outcome. Regardless of what that person might initially feel about what I’m saying to them, or what they might feel about me.

It is a hard place to be, but when you love people, you tell them the truth, you pray, and you hope that God will intervene. Not only in that situation, but in their lives, in a mighty way. It feels heavy and hard to tell someone you love the truth about things they don’t want to hear. So, I do what I’m called to do, at times painfully, and I lay that relationship before the Lord. He decides. He directs. I pray, I obey, I hope and I leave it with him, many times with tears.

“You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men. In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters,
let him remain in it with God.” 1 Corinthians 7:23-24

We seek approval from every place, from people, but not the one place that we should; God. We are afraid of men, of their rejection of us, of what they might think about us and we start forming our lives around the approval of men. Only, man’s approval is not consistent. It’s a whim, a trend, and it’s as finicky as feelings. One moment you’ll have their approval and the next it will be gone. Then you adjust, compromise, and degrade yourself, again, in order to get the approval back. What’s the point of living life that way?!

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25

When we don’t see ourselves accurately it hinders all aspects of our lives. From interactions with others, to how we read our Bibles. We don’t see people in the Bible as people like us, but as characters. We like to think that we are better, smarter, and more advanced than all the people who preceded us (I think that’s why people like the idea of evolution so much, because it allows them to believe we are superior and more advanced than those that were before us). When we realize the people from the Bible are just like us, had similar struggles, questions, and concerns, we can better identify with them and what the Bible is saying.

Jonah struggles with anger at the Lord’s compassion for the city of Ninevah:

 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh,in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:9-11

Job questions God, God answers and Job repents:

“Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked,
Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

Elijah was depressed, afraid, and wanted to die. God sent him food and rest.

“He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.” 1 Kings 19:4-8

These are just a few examples of people, just like us, in the Bible. They lived in a different time and culture, but they were just as human as we are,  with the same problems we have. And just like them, our only hope is the Lord.

We are living in perilous times. Lunacy all around us. What is wrong, people call right. What is right, people call wrong. I think of my kids and what the future holds for them. I see the news, hear of ridiculous laws being instituted, feel the tension and division, and I am primed to freak out, to be gripped with fear, and consumed with grief as I watch an unraveling of our society. But, my hope is in the Lord. My hope is in the Lord for my children. My hope is in the Lord for my family. My hope is in the Lord for my future. This place, where we currently reside, is not my permanent home. I am a traveler here, a sojourner.

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord

    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:5-9

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