Monday, December 17, 2012

Modifying or Modified?

Most would think of a "circumstance" as something which modifies or influences what will happen - what the outcome will be.  When we have the right one in charge of the "circumstances", there is no "modifier" beyond our ability to deal!

Lord, change our circumstances for the better, like dry streams in the desert waste!  Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
Let those who go out, crying and carrying their seed, come home with joyful shouts, carrying bales of grain!   (Psalm 126:4-6 CEB)

Do you know what a drought is?  It the simplest sense, it is a period of "dryness".  Most "dry spells" are not a matter of our doing.  They are "circumstances" beyond our control.  In the times of "dryness" there is much at work attempting to modify our responses - perhaps even shaping our outcome, as a result.  In the time of dryness we have a couple of options: 1) Scheme our way through it, figuring and refiguring a way to bring life back ourselves; 2) Bolt, looking for refreshment in any other place than where we are at; or 3) Honker down, trusting God for the refreshing rains just around the corner.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to the circumstances to modify my life by driving me away from what God will do "in" them!  I want God to drive me "into" the circumstances deep enough to allow HIM to modify me, not the circumstances!

It is indeed God who changes our circumstances for the better.  One thing I have come to recognize - God often changes US before he changes our circumstances.  So, in respect to the "modifying" effect of circumstances - it is really not the circumstances which "modify" us, but finding God in the midst of them which does!  

David points out a couple of character traits of one who is not modified by the circumstances, but is met in the midst of the circumstances by the "modifier" of our hearts.  First, they are not just honkered down, hoping for the best.  They are planting, carrying seed, going about their regular tasks.  They don't cease to do what they know to do!  Too many times, we face circumstances which seem beyond our control with the attitude of just standing still - not even doing what we know to do.  God's advice to us - do what you can, then let him take care of the rest.  If I am capable of putting my hand to the plow, I need to plow.  If I have seed, I need to sow it.  The principle is quite plain here - do what we know to do, then trust God!

Next, he points out being honest with our emotions.  Most don't plant with tears, but it may be these very tears which are the first "moisture" to touch those tiny seeds.  Did you ever stop to consider the tears you shed as being the very thing which waters the very seed you are planting?  It may not be a significant amount of moisture, but perhaps it is enough to begin to breakdown the tough outer coating of the seed and cause it to begin to germinate!  I don't think God ever expects us to mask our emotions - if we are honest with him in our emotions, he can deal with them!  

Last, but not least, those who go out will return.  Their return is not empty-handed, but with much more than they ever imagined.  This is the principle of sowing and reaping.  In due season, there is a harvest.  When we trust God with our "circumstances", we also trust him with the "outcome" (and the "INcome").  It was not the circumstances which modified us - it was the great "MODIFIER" of the circumstances which modified us.  The harvest may not have been possible without us first going out - doing what we knew to do.  The seed spread in drought is there when the rains come.  Think about it - if the seed is never planted, no amount of rain will produce a crop!  

Instead of allowing the circumstances to modify us, allow the modifying to come from the one who hold the circumstances squarely in his hand!  Just sayin!