How we live is the manifestation of what we believe about God. – Tonya Delnay, Sunday School, 6/30/2013
A friend I had not seen for a long time happened to be at my church yesterday and naturally, I was happy to see her in real life rather than on Facebook. See? The advantages of social media like Facebook is that when you meet in live conversation, you don’t have to spend so much time catching up on the past; you can focus on what’s going on now. I found out she was going to a Sunday School classed I’d thought about attending because of the topic, so I went along with her. While the entire class is totally drawn from scripture the text used for reference is titled ‘Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free’ by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Did you notice the quote leading into this story? Powerful, isn’t it? Our lesson yesterday focused on how we view God today because of circumstances of our past, or because of unbelievable incidents in our present. It’s so easy to get tangled up in all the tentacles of feelings, impressions, heartache, desires, anticipation, despair, happiness and every other emotion kindled by reality throughout the day. We wonder when tragedy strikes, “Where was God in all this?” “If God loved me, this never would have happened.” “If God cared about me, he wouldn’t have taken that away from me.” “God could fix that, but he doesn’t and I don’t understand why.” “God says to ask for anything, so why doesn’t he give it to me?” There isn’t enough time in a year of daily study and writing to cover the logic we’ve come to live by. Aren’t we taught from early childhood the law of cause and effect? “If you do this, it will cause that, and the effect is – well, whatever the anticipated result is.” If you plant peas, you can plan, pray, and dream of corn, but you will still get peas. This all goes far beyond the verse in Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
There is no such thing as perfect, not in this life anyway. Perfect is just word; it’s not a state of being. Our job is to keep our faith alive and not grow weary, even though life is exhausting and we don’t understand why things are the way they are. How many times have you dragged yourself into the presence of God and prayed for understanding or begged for peace for the turmoil boiling inside? Have you ever heatedly questioned God’s words in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Why does everything have to be so difficult when all we want is for the good that’s promised to arrive now, now – not after all that perseverance stuff has worked through its cycle. “Give me patience, Lord. But hurry!”
Life is a contact sport and sometimes we feel like we are living life unsheltered. We are subjected to fruits that grow on the worry tree, things that make us sad, situations that cause us to feel defeated, and fear creeps in. There are many places in the Bible where we are admonished to ‘Fear NOT!’ I love the verse in Ephesians 6:13 where it gives the first step for planning our offensive position “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” The only way to have peace is to turn every circumstance, every worrisome situation, and every anger producing instance over to God – then read this – do not take it back.
Our goal for today is found in James 3:18 “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” Remember “How we live is a manifestation of what we believe about God.” Go in confidence and be at peace.