Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Can't Grab God's Blessing While Gripping Old Garbage

Psalm 55:22(NIV)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

It's a simple lesson of faith. But more often than not, the lesson proves to be anything but simple. Taking God at His word, and casting our cares completely on Him.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Oh as believers, we believe it's something we do easily. After all, we have the best intentions. We want to trust God. We say we trust God. We believe we trust God. But then trouble comes, and often the faith goes

I'm not talking about our faith in God, meaning whether we believe in God and His existence and His love. Of course we do. I'm talking about our faith in the ability of God to deliver us in times of trouble. That's when so often our faith fails.

It's not a big dramatic move that would make us take notice, initially. And we don't intend for it to happen. I mean, come on...we know the scriptures...not to mention all of the phrases that we spout out effortlessly. "Give it to God." "Let go and let God.""Leave your burdens at the altar." "Let God do the driving." And we pray. And we fast. And we read the word. And we sing.

And then, we wonder. Wonder, what's taking God so long. Then we worry. Worry, that maybe He didn't hear us. Then we start to doubt. Doubt that He's going to handle it for us. Then we start to get anxious. Anxious that this hardship, this heartache, this dilapidated house, this "on its last leg car", this sickness, this debt, this backsliding, this lifeless marriage, this disobedient child, this dead-end job, this...this...this...THING is going to take US UNDER.

So, we pick that burden back up, or at least part of the burden, load it onto our own backs again, and let IT drag US around -- Thinking - "What should I do?" "Who should I get to help?" "Where can I turn?" So there we are...trouble in, faith out.

Then we often get caught up as we try to make it work ourselves. If you're anything like me, you go into full, attack mode.  I  WILL  DO  WHATEVER  IT  TAKES  TO  MAKE  THIS  THING  WORK. And we do, until we - through our own devices - are completely, utterly exhausted. We are all tapped out on ideas. We are feeling whipped by this THING. Well, thank God. Because THAT is often the time that Jesus can do His greatest work in us.

2 Corinthians 12:9(KJV)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
And isn't that just how Christ works? He wants us to come to Him in our broken state and in Him we will find wholeness.

Matthew 11:28(NLT)

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

So then there is the lesson. Often, in my life anyway, God moves in a mighty way in that space where I just throw my hands up and surrender. Surrender. When I finally admit that I can't do it on my own. Where I just stop trying to be all that I can be and I allow God to be all that He is

And the act of surrendering is a way of showing that we are fully releasing something in our lives. It is that release, that opening up, that letting go which allows us the open hand, the open heart to receive that new THING that God is trying to bring to us. 

In the Wednesday Word for Women post, dated June 12, 2013, the focus was God's 42 cent promise, that was actually a symbol. It was to show that  He would take care of me, and in fact completely restore me, after our van was totaled when it accelerated without warning. Then the brakes failed and the only thing that stopped it was when we were forced to slam into hedge. I spoke of how I panicked when it was time for me to mail off the title to the van that I had crashed. That van was broken and useless, but the one with which I was comfortable, on which I was reliant. In some mixed up way it brought me a sense of comfort to know that we still owned the defective van. 

But once I got that 42 cent promise from God, even BEFORE I knew how God was going to move or how  he was going to fix that THING, I totally surrendered. I released the idea of the old van and concerns of getting a replacement, and within 24 hours we were the owners of a new van. That was nothing but God! 

I could never have been in a place to receive the new van if I was still holding onto the old one. For God to bless us with a new THING we typically have to let go of the old THING. If we keep running with a bad crowd we can't expect to improve our habits. If we keep mistreating our spouses we can't expect our marriages to grow stronger. If we continue to eat salt ladened foods we can't believe that our blood pressure is going to decrease. If we keep - fill in that THING to which YOU are holding on - then we cannot see or appreciate God's increase in our lives. We must go for a total release or surrender in order to move into many of the things that God has for us.

So maybe my doubt, my occasional lack of faith, is not lack at all. Maybe it is actually the only way that I can get full. Maybe that THING that needs to be fixed, can only be done if I am broken and bowed. Maybe I have to see my own frailty fully and admit that frailty so that I can understand and feel the awesome magnitude of God. His strength and not my own. Just maybe that is the only way that I can truly understand that it is God who delivers me. Not just some of the time. All of the time.

Let's pray: "Father, Thank you for following through on all of your promises to handle my problems and to deliver me through each of the them every time. Please forgive me for allowing my faith to falter those times that I faced a problem, and for partially forgetting that You were busy working out Your perfect plan for my life. But I also thank you for letting me get to the point where I truly surrender myself and my problem to You so that I can see You do a mighty work! And through it all, the glory and praise belong to you. I love you, Father. In Jesus' holy name. Amen."

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