I have to admit, I’ve been struggling to stay above surface. It’s been fine for some weeks, but when you try to hide up the cracks instead of fixing them, they’re bound to get bigger over time. When you have to make a choice which involves pain either way, it’s hard to pick a path at all. It’s easier just to sit down and hold my head in my hands.
So here I am, sat before the crossroads, and it’s scary. Whichever way I choose, I know I need a strategy. Because a person can’t live a bruised life and be happy, that’s just not how it works.
It’s easy to say ‘Focus on God!’. It’s easy when you think you know who God is. My God is bigger than I will ever know, and His wisdom and power cannot begin to make sense in my tiny head. You might say, ‘That’s awesome! Your God can do anything! Just trust and He’ll be there.’ But here’s the catch – when you realise how great God is, the idea that He would be with me is suddenly very daunting, because that gap between Him and me becomes overwhelmingly real.
A lot of modern churches seem to portray a God who performs magic on a regular basis. Speaking in tongues and performing miracles is on the agenda for most ‘born-again-Christians’ – if you do not possess those kind of gifts, you are surely not seeking God with all your heart, or allowing Him to work in your life.
What happened to all the things that He’s given to us already, that make up our ‘normal’ world, that are not considered to be supernatural? Aren’t they supernatural in their own right, because they come from the Creator? Just because He has made them a natural part of the world we see and know around us does not make them any more abnormal than miracles. Have you ever tried creating a human being out of nothing? Or thinking without a brain?
When we ask God to intervene, are we looking for a miracle solution, or are we prepared to accept any solution that is divine in its own right, even if it may seem perfectly ‘plain’ and obvious to us?
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” – John 20:29.
My problems circle around the singular thought that it’s my own fault I feel so messed up, because I went against His will. It’s my own fault I feel He’s not stepping in. And then I realise that the only reason I am thinking these things is because I have a mind to think them with – a mind that can think much more than such thoughts. He has given me a brain and some kind of intelligence, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t expect them to stay new and shiny. Tools are there to be used after all.
The most amazing stories in the Bible are those in which God’s people have embraced the challenge of solving the problem, simply because they know that whatever they do, God is with them, and when they have overcome the obstacles, they are one step closer to meeting Him face to face. Here’s some amazing examples.
Jesus is probably the ultimate example of one who had a strategy. He knew what His life was about, and what He was required to do, even though it appears He didn’t know all the details (Luke 22:42, Mark 13:32). The story about the man who built his tower without first working out the costs (Luke 14: 28) points towards a God who expects us to have a strategy and an answer – maybe not to everything, but an answer to the reason for our striving at the very least.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” – 1 Peter 3:15
So which path do I take? I haven’t quite worked that one out yet. But I know that I cannot run away from making decisions. I know that I have been given the freedom of choice. I also know that in every choice I make, I need to challenge myself as to the reasons behind my choice. Is my decision honouring God? And am I valuing and taking care of myself as part of God’s creation?
But I guess there is a strategy I can work with. It’s nothing special, but it’s a start.
- Honour God. Worship Him, praise Him, seek Him, love Him. (Matthew 22:37)
- Don’t run away. (Romans 12:12)
- Face the situation. (James 1:12)
- Refer to step one. Repeatedly. (Psalm 27:14)