Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Proverbs 13:4 - The Soul of the Sluggard

Over the past several months, I've been wrestling with exactly HOW to trust God with things. Especially ever since I moved out of my parent's house, I've had to plan ahead for things, as my safety net wasn't quite the same as it always was. The thought that I struggled and struggle with, is how to trust while still planning for the future.

To illustrate this, I'll paint two extremes. The first is of a man who does absolutely nothing for himself and instead simply waits to be spoon fed. He doesn't look for a job. He just sits around thinking about jobs and praying for jobs, but doesn't bother to get up and submit any applications. Instead of going out and buying food, he waits for the neighbors down the street to come to his door and let him know that they were very sorry to bother him, but they bought more melons than their fridge could hold, and they needed to give one away. That's one side.

The other side is one that I think we (mostly me) fall in to. It's so easy to get in a rhythm of doing everything yourself that you forget to even bring God into the conversation. I do this all the time, spending hours perusing craigslist for things I am in desperate need of (examples: car, housing) and leave prayer on the back burner.

That is, until "desperate need" turns into me wringing my hands and worrying that I'll somehow be left penniless on the street. At that point, God becomes and option, and then comes the simple, honest and humble prayer of "Lord, I need this." and, no surprise, the Lord provides. I have a car, a home and a job and it is so obvious in hindsight (see my previous blog post on the subject) that I am blessed beyond belief, but how do I hold on to that in times of need?

The trouble is in finding a balance of those two extremes. Most of you have heard the joke in which there is a man trapped on the roof of his house with flood waters rising. He turns down a boat and a helicopter, would be rescuers, with the words "God will provide" and ends up drowning because he couldn't recognize the proverbial life raft that was being thrown to him.

Joseph: Pioneering
tie dye since 2000 BC.
I think that the best example of how to trust God with our well being is to look at Joseph's life. In spite of the troubles he faced, Joseph threw his shoulder to the wheel and put his heart into each opportunity that the Lord presented him with, and was blessed with success because of his hard work. He also had a heart for the Lord, and because of that, didn't have to worry about what was behind the bend, how he was going to move up in live, or where he was going to be placed, but instead did the absolute best with what he was given.

How then does that translate to me? In those desperately honest times, I've learned that God will come through at the right time, whether I think it's the right time or not. How much better off would I have been had I prayed like that from the beginning and continued about the same process with a watchful eye out for miracles and faith that I would be pointed in the right direction?

To have it written out nice and simply, (otherwise I'll have trouble remembering it) there are five things I need to continually practice. Firstly, being in constant conversation with God. That means that each care, each need and each worry, even though he knows them already, is passed to God's listening ear without bouncing around in my head. Secondly, working hard and being vigilant for opportunities that we are to be presented, as well as faith in God's faithfulness. Lastly, we (meaning me) should be constantly praising the Lord for the blessings of the past, the blessings he continues to bestow on us and the blessings that we will receive in the future because of his love and good grace.

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." - Proverbs 13:4

Monday, March 11, 2013

Psalm 46:10 - Hindsight

When in the midst of this world's perils, it can often become easy to get mired on the trials we face each day, focused only on how hard things are in the moment and ignorant of the miracle of Christ's redemptive process in which we are enrolled. 

Now, that's not to say that we are not redeemed by Christ and signed by the blood of Jesus into the book of life, but though we are already saved, we are still surrounded by the sin we choose to participate in. The redemptive process, salvation, is nothing more or less than Christ's every day good work to make us more and more like the Father. 

For me especially, I get so buried in the mistakes I make and the bad habits I've formed that I lose sight of the progress that Christ has made in me. Then in times of quiet reflection, I look back at my life, at the things that have been reworked and rebuilt in my heart into something beautiful. That's when I most strongly see the hand of God, is in hindsight when I can see each miracle that He has worked in my past, each time that he has picked me up and carried me, and each blessing He has bestowed on me that I was oblivious to in the moment. 

That is why, in an effort to be more aware of His presence, I have decided to chronicle the redemptive process of God's salvation in my life and in my heart. Too many amazing works of His hands have been lost in my walk, and as time goes on I know that I will forget to love and praise God for how he molds, carries, and supports me. 

Today, it has been one of my favorite, and simplest verses that has been put on my heart, Psalm 46:10. I'll put down my phone, my headphones, my laptop (once I finish this post) and just take time to BE with the one who isn't finished loving me yet, in spite of and because He knows me inside and out.

"Be still and know that I am God" - Psalm 46:10