Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The delicate balance of trusting in God and obtaining a masterpiece life

Almost everyone is too far to one side of ideal when it comes to trusting God and following the path to the desires of your heart.

On the one side are the people whose distrust of God is manifested in not doing enough. These people constrain what God can do for them by refusing all but the most normal packages it might come in. They expect a magnificent life but aren't willing to do what it takes to get it. God fills their lives with opportunities for growth by showing them the shortfalls of status quo life again and again, but they ignore these signals and continue in their blind march forward. They do what everyone else does, then are surprised when their life turns out like everyone else's--fragile and miserable and devoid of meaning and joy.

On the other side are the people whose distrust of God is manifested in their trying to do too much. These people believe God can do great things in their lives but rely too much on their own understanding of how that will come to be. They are impatient and believe they know better than God the how and when of their lives. They shoehorn the eventual promises of God into second-rate fulfillment, like a driver who insists on taking the next exit instead of completing the road trip, then pretends they have arrived at their destination until they can no longer fool themselves. They then get back onto the highway, having wasted precious time and gone through unnecessary suffering. These people rarely learn to trust God, in spite of his showing them the consequences of their foolish pride. As soon as he redeems them from one situation, they jump right into another one just as fast as they can.

Humans crave completion. They like the idea of retiring. They like the idea of finishing a game. No one ever finishes during life. Until you die, you are not done. If you seek God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, you will find yourself in a never-ending cycle of giving everything you have in exchange for something better: debasement followed by ascension. That is the price for something better: all that you have.

While we are reasonably good at envisioning the end (mostly because the light inside of us whispers it to us), we are really awful at envisioning the means. That is probably a good thing. The means seem to always be orders of magnitude more difficult than we imagined. Almost everything of value seems to cost so much more than we originally thought. Those who get furthest in life are those who choose their paths based on alignment to God instead of the perceived cost and benefit, which are necessarily outside of our awareness at the beginning of the journey. In The Hobbit, Bilbo accepts the wizard's invitation to go on the journey not because of his understanding of how important it is or his confidence in his ability to overcome challenges far outside his awareness, but because of his faith in the wizard who clearly desires him to go. This is how it is with us and God. It is our faith in his character and this alone that is sufficient for us to courageously walk into the challenges for which we were born. Unfortunately, so few develop this level of faith. We fritter our lives away swimming in the gentle outskirts of the pond and never experience the treasures that lie in the deep.

The Lord's way exists not for some arbitrary reason, but because he has perfect knowledge and knows there is no other way. Every single situation and every moment of time is absolutely precision designed by God to get you to the destination of greatest joy possible for you. You need to submit completely to him. You need to completely recognize that you don't and won't know the way. Only the Lord can shepherd you to the pastures you seek. Trust in him. Lean into him.

While you are anxious, pressured, stressed, etc., you can know with a full assurance that you aren't ready to receive what he has to give, you do not trust him, and you don't yet have faith. While in this state, you can rest assured that the barrier to what you seek isn't your situation, but your heart.

Do you know what men of God mean when they say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"? They do NOT mean "if I wish hard enough, God will give me what I want in the way I want it." What they mean is that if they submit to God fully, God has the power to direct them in the path required to obtain the desired outcome. This requires both unrestricted effort and unrestricted submission. It means you are willing to pay any cost as well as accept any format of fulfillment. You willingly deliver your life into the hands of the master, trusting fully that he is able to bring about better outcomes than anything you can imagine, even if the path requires you to walk through things more awful than you can imagine.