Saturday, November 30, 2013

Calming the Storm

I tend to worry quite a bit. The focus of that worry changes from time to time, but it's the same basic idea: my welfare. Where will I work, where will I live, what will I eat... what will I drive?

I've thought all of these things over the last year or so, and I'm slightly at a loss for what to do with them. It's natural, in many ways, to act like that. The disciples, for example, continually freaked out and looked for earthly solutions to their problems. When the 5,000 were hungry, they considered sending them to the town for food, but Jesus had other ideas. When they were caught up in the storm, they tried bailing the boat before simply giving up and waiting to die, but Jesus had better ideas.

And when Jesus was killed, the disciples ran and hid, but Jesus had something else up his sleeve.

In each of these instances, the disciples did exactly as I do - worry about their basic needs, and blow them out of proportion. The people are going to starve! We're all gonna drown! Jesus is dead, we're sitting ducks!

So yeah, it's a human thing to do. What I wrestle with is the balance between faith and ACTING on faith. I need things in life. I need a roof over my head, I need food to eat. To get those things I need a job, and to hold a job I need a car.

Here's the difficult part. By the grace of God, I've had a car to drive over these past few weeks, but that term is almost over. Now, do I sit and wait for another gift? Or do I run out and fight for something new?

The first option of being faithfully patient I often dismiss as being lazy. It's the idea of the man who is stranded on top of his house by flood waters and dies because he refuses to see that God sent a boat and a helicopter to safe him. I tend to see it as looking for a handout. I'm gonna lay here until somebody drops food into my mouth because I'm "trusting God" with my needs.

Running and fighting are equally taboo. Aren't we supposed to trust God with our needs? I'm reminded of the story of the two women, when one was content to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn, while the other rushed around preparing a meal. Even though she was working hard for the purpose of something good - making food for Jesus - she would have been better served (hah) to be at His feet. Even in the story of the disciples on the boat, Jesus rebukes them because they didn't simply trust that their safety was in the hands of the Almighty.

That's why I struggle with this idea. I see value in both schools of thought, and I see detriment in both schools of thought. Finding a good balance between the two is really hard for me. I look in to my (recent) past and see evidence of God's providence and trust that He will, in the end, provide for my needs. I know that. I just don't know how much of that journey I am supposed to shoulder.


  1. Good questions, I've wondered a similar thing many times- how much are we to "be still and know that He is God", be still and let God fight for us, etc., and how much do we actually wrestle with the Enemy, fight the good fight, etc.? I don't have a really great answer (so if you find one, let me know...) but, I ran across a quote in a novel that shed tons of light for me. "we are not required to defeat evil, but only stand against it. That is enough, the outcome remains with God; it is His battle, after all. However, we are required to refrain from actively helping the enemy..." (Stephen Lawhead, "Grail")
    I guess the "helping the enemy" idea makes sense: am I running ahead without listening for God's voice and direction? Not acting on the faith that I do have, even if it is little steps? Not doing what I'm clearly told to do? Doing something I'm clearly told not to? Asking for something when I know better? Ignoring the needs around me when I have the ability to fill them? Allowing thoughts that do not align with His truth? Giving the enemy a foothold in my mind, actions, etc?
    I don't know- it's not exactly the question you asked, but it's a similar train of thought. It seems as if, when I don't know what to do, if I make some forward steps in the direction I think I'm supposed to go, God then has the ability to direct my steps. But if my car is parked, it's awfully hard to steer. :)
    Haphazard thoughts.

  2. I think you have something there - moving forward with the Lord on our heart and mind, knowing that he will direct our steps. And with open ears and keeping up a constant dialogue, "steering" gets a whole lot easier.