Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Keeping it Steady with the Ups and Downs of Life (September Article)

Sometimes I get a little antsy when life seems to be going a little too well. For some reason, I think that when everything is running smoothly, and I am really cruising along that I must be “due for something bad” to knock me off the cloud I’m riding. I don’t think that I am alone in this thinking. In fact, I believe we all entertain these same thoughts and rationalizations.

And, to be honest, as misguided as these anxieties can be at times, they can also be healthy. I’ll tell you why. It’s because when the world is our oyster that we tend to become self-sufficient. We become selfish. We think too much of ourselves and our abilities. We have such a short-sighted view that when something comes at us out of left field we are often knocked flat on our faces. We aren’t prepared at all for what’s coming.

And, why aren’t we prepared? Because most of the time our attitudes, thoughts, and actions are completely dependent on our circumstances. Sad, but true.

A friend of mine said something interesting the other day. I asked how things were going, and my friend’s response was, “Things are going really well – almost too well – in my life right now. But, I haven’t been in church in a while. I don’t want to become on of those ‘crisis Christians,’ who only go to church when life is bad.”

But, the painful truth is that we only seek God when we can’t find the answers or outcomes we want, or need to find, on our own. And, let me go ahead and fill you in on a little secret – you never will. You see, God’s plan from the very beginning was for us to rely on Him to come through for us. And, to borrow a line from Charles Swindoll, “he’ll remove our crutches” to get us to trust completely in Him – and Him alone.

When we choose to only believe when it’s convenient for us, it doesn’t work out too well for us. James, Jesus’ own brother, said that when we are selective with our faith, we are “as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (NLT)

So, whether life is a bowl of cherries, or whether it’s the pits, we’ve got to keep hold of the One who truly holds our lives in the palm of His hand. Because, when the storm comes, we’ll need that Lifeboat of faith to help us avoid the waves of uncertainty that will begin to roll in!

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