Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Not giving up, just giving in

How many times we would love to throw in the towel, give up the fight, and move on without another thought - especially when the answers don't come easily, we are facing yucky stuff that is harder than we ever realized it would be, or the resistance we are facing is just astronomically huge! Then we get just a glimpse of hope from the Word of God, the counsel of a wise friend, or the unsuspecting message of a total stranger. God's faithfulness comes through - in that glimpse of truth, the word of hope, and the totally unexpected reminder of his care.

If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain your commands! (Psalm 119:92-96)

Many times we may have heard that everything serves God's plans - even the worst of things. Nothing escapes his attention - that is true. Nothing happens by chance - this is also true. The most amazing thing someone once told me was that my misery was optional - there was no mandatory requirement to be miserable, even when miserable stuff is happening to or around me. The bad times come, but what we make of them is what counts. We can choose to wallow in our self-pity, or we can choose to be stretched to new capacity. When we choose the latter, we need the words of wise counsel to sustain us in the midst of the trouble or trial. We need the strength that comes from knowing we are listening to truth.

One thing is very clear to me - obedience is not by accident - nor is it optional. It is purposeful. It is a matter of choice - it is a matter of the application of truth. There are certain things that we can expect from God as we make the decision to live obediently, but we must choose the path of obedience. When we choose the path of obedience over the path of ease, he makes us wiser than our enemies! Ever want to outwit your enemy? You can - through obedience to God's counsel. He becomes a guide for us to help us navigate even the most difficult  and dangerous of stuff. It is important to remember here that the starting point in the process of navigation is to actually ascertain the course one is about to travel. In that "plotting" of course, the one navigating takes over control and then brings us to the desired destination. If we only followed half of the directions of the GPS in our cars, we'd still be lost!

When we choose obedience, he actually gives us more might and wisdom than our teachers. How can that be? When a student begins to grasp truth, it is possible for truth to expand because it is seen through fresh eyes. He has the ability to make us wiser than our elders. If you've ever heard the saying, "She is wiser than her years", this is what that is referring to. God's wisdom outshines all other. Probably the most valuable outcome of obedience is the certainty of our path. Embracing obedience begins to help us with the decisions of what to do with the evil around us - rather than being caught up in it, we reject it. We may have looked a lot at what the "longings" of our hearts might be. If we found they are more and more frequently the things revealed in the Word of God, we are probably pretty sure that our way will be made "plain" - easier for us to see, grasp, and understand. God promises to make our path straight (plain) - but this comes out of our choice to make him the center of our path! It comes as we choose obedience. Just sayin!

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