So We Rage
During my quiet time today, I read a good word in relation to the disappointment you might face with your world leaders. It was geared towards world leaders, but it is a good word for ANY disappointment we might face in any arena of our life. The following is an adaptation from this devo with words extracted straight from the reading mixed with my own gleanings:
"WE HAVE MISPLACED OUR FAITH. Buried beneath the panic we feel due to the state of our 'world/church/job/life' is systemic disappointment. This makes us feel weak and pathetic, so instead of owning our disappointment - in our country, in our world leaders, in our church, in our jobs, in one another, and God help us, in ourselves - WE RAGE. Mad feels better than sad. It's painful to long, in the words of Hebrews 11:16, for a better country and embrace the hard, cold fact that we are strangers and exiles on earth (Hebrews 11:13).
"Grieve, mourn, and weep," James 4:9-10 says. "Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you."
But who wants to do any of that? SO WE RAGE.
We have become like the world ".....having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)
Yesterday's America (world,church, job, life, etc.) in all its honor and shame, is in ashes, but, rather than exercise the faith and obedience and earnest prayer to see God raise some beauty from the heap, some gold from the fire, we keep trying to glue ashes back together. And they won't stick. Yesterday's America has become an idol to us. It has no more breath in it and the thing about idolaters is that, sooner or later, they become like their idols. (Psalm 135:18)
God could do something new but we've lost our hope.
We want back what we've seen instead of believing Him for what we haven't.
Don't run. Don't give up. Stop trying to glue back together those ashes yourself.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).
When we run on desperation, we are driving drunk on rage, swerving all over the road, fenders dangling and headlights shattered from out collisions with one another. Any means to our end.
Our witness to the world has become the crimson-faced hysterical screams of armageddon after Jesus said "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).
We are so void of vision that all we can see is a big fat "T" in the road ahead.
It is right or left.
There is no other way.
Poor, poor God. He's down to His last two options.
And poor, poor us for having such a poor, poor God.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH IN A GOD WHO NEVER NEEDED A MAN-PAVED ROAD TO GET ANYWHERE. A dead end means nothing to a God of resurrection.
This is what the Lord says - "he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16) can also make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:19).
Psalm 146:3-9 - New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
In November, we cast our votes. But if we cast our confidence in our candidates (in ANY man), woe be unto us.
Unbelief is not just the absence of faith as it if leaves a vacuum. It is the substantive presence of spiritual infidelity. *It will not be the scandals of our candidates (or any man) that slacked the jaws of angels. It will be the unbelief of the church.
"Remember what I accomplished in antiquity! Truly I am God. I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:9).We are meant to look back to what God has done in the past so our faith is set aflame for what He can do in our future. The gospel didn't come to us in seats of government. It came to us in a stable reeking to high heaven with cow manure. God didn't plant the Savior of the world in the womb of a governor's wife. He planted the Christ in the womb of a peasant-girl in the middle of nowhere. The same one who'd get to bear the reputation that she'd done something naughty and gotten herself pregnant.
Jesus never once sat on a throne here. The closest He got was the back of a donkey. God did not blaze a trail with the gospel galloping on a horse through the halls of government. He did it through sandals flapping on the grass. Through the mouths of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
It is the world's way to associate power with people at the top, but the power of the gospel is at the bottom. In God's hierarchy, the way up is down. The kings and queens of Planet Earth still have to bow low for power from the loft.
We cast our pleas prayerfully. Carefully. We plead for wisdom. The church of Jesus Christ doesn't rise or fall on the backs of men. We have our God. He has His people. We don't even have to fully agree with one another to be a colossal force for the gospel. All we have to do is agree with God that nothing is too difficult for Him and that no amount of mortal elbow grease can back His throne into a corner.
God cannot be overruled.
And it is He alone - I cannot say this loudly enough - it is He alone who truly loves the world.
To think we care more than He does is remarkably prideful.
The responsibility lies not on anyone else. Responsibility begins with us. We are only as powerless as our passivity. We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention. Paul didn't tell the government to overcome evil with good. He told US to.
We are convinced that those in 'power' have the power to gag God while 2 Timothy 2:9 says the word of God cannot be chained. Difficult days are ahead. We cannot endure them faithlessly. Opposition is inevitable in any arena. But at some point we've got to quit looking to leaders to fight for our faith. FAITH WE HAVEN'T FOUGHT FOR IS FAITH WE DON'T POSSESS.
'At the top' is not the only way we effect change. We seek it. We fight for it. But, if we don't get it, it has never been God's only means to a change.
God can turn Pennsylvania Avenue into the road to Damascus, for crying out loud. He can soften the hardest heart. Transform the vilest offender. Thank God no sin is too great for the power of the cross. Oh for grace to trust Him more.
We need our faith back.
Without it we cannot stand.
Without it we cannot please God. (Heb. 11:16)
Without it we can't grasp joy.
He still counts our faith as righteousness. (Romans 4:23-24)
We live by faith. We love by faith. -- Not by sight.
"Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. ..." (Hebrews 11:1-3)
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead." (Hebrews 11:17-19)
My goal for 2017, my New Year's resolution if you will, is to remember to RELINQUISH every thing to God in total surrender. Every. Little. Thing.
Today's quiet time revelation was a great reminder of that surrendering which I promised God I would work on throughout the new year and years to come.God foresaw this day and scheduled our births and our deaths within it.
Keep praying for change.
Keep the faith.
Run valiantly by faith drenched with hope because this race, dear friend, ends well.