It’s Temporary…

Everything in the natural is temporary. Everything. Even our planet is temporary. Although it could be hours from now or thousands of years from now until it ceases to be, the earth’s existence is temporary. What brought this to mind were scenes from the recent, horrific flooding events in Colorado. Having lived there for almost a year, I can tell you for this to have happened and for it to have caused so much catastrophic devastation, the rainfall must’ve been never ending and torrential in proportion to normal rainfall. In several days, parts of Colorado received what they normally get in a year. Seeing photos and videos of remote mountain roads that I’ve gleefully traveled washed away, towns that I’ve visited dozens of times now underwater and mountain trails that I’ve hiked in absolute spiritual bliss no longer in existence or buried under tons of mud and debris, just brings to mental clarity that our earth’s permanence is not guaranteed. Not by a long shot. Not the planet itself, not the seas, not the mountains, not the landscape and certainly not the people. It brings you to a sobering realization…

The tragic events happening all over the globe (feel free to bring to mind whichever ones you’d like…as there are plenty), whether man-made or natural, have been occurring at a breakneck pace. And, it’s my opinion that they’re not going to stop, much less diminish in frequency anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I think such occurrences are going to increase. Not only in scope and nature, but in shock value.

My apologies, as I know this particular blog post seems to be a bit of a bummer.

However, au contraire…it gets better.

How we view the world and the things around us is what affects us as humans. What I mean is that most folks respond to stressors and conditions from worldly happenings in a negative way. It causes us to lose our happiness, joy and peace because we feel we’ve lost control. We don’t know what to do and we don’t know where to look for help. But, when we learn to change the dynamic of how we view the world and how not to let it affect us, it is only then that we can live in true peace. Sure, we’re still sympathetic and saddened by tragic events, but we don’t let them rule or control our emotions, or our lives.

I’ve come to the realization that in my own personal impermanence, I can’t and won’t rely on man, or the world for my provision, my protection and my place…that is the key. Because I know that this can only come from God. Unfortunately, folks who rely on the world for such things have difficulty understanding that man, along with the world, is irrevocably fallible and that man and the world can and will fail us. We feel safe as long as things are going our way, then when things go belly up or another tragedy occurs, we’re shocked and surprised that it happened! We become discouraged, but over time invariably return to trusting the world again and continue getting stung again and again. Sound familiar?

God however, will not fail us. Ever. In this temporary life, I’ve chosen not to toil by the sweat of my brow or the muscle of my back. It wasn’t always like that, but it is now. I’ve realized that in my walk with God, He has always been there for me. And, it is only from Him that I’ve prospered. Not from man or the world.

In his uplifting second letter to the Corinthian church in Greece around 55 AD, the apostle Paul wrote about the impermanence of this life, but reveled about what lies ahead for those who believe in God. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV), Paul said…”Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”.

It bears repeating. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. When thought about from a spiritual perspective, the depth of the corollary goes to the core. It is absolutely awesome. It gives hope…

He knew. Paul knew that the world was wasting away. Even 2000 years ago. He knew that man could provide him nothing. But, God would…and, did.

When we fix our lives on what we see…the natural, we’ll toil and sweat to provide for ourselves, with indeterminable results. But, when we look to what we can’t physically see, (the things of God) and rely on that, and for those who believe…God is our provision, protection and place. Paul anchored this scriptural truth in the next chapter. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, he said…”We live by faith, not by sight”. For those who believe in Him, we are His sons. And, we can expect an inheritance from Him as sons that will palpably and deeply change us. In a world of chaos, again for those who believe, we know that it is only God who can provide for us.trust

So, take a brief look around you, locally and globally…do you really want to continue to trust man to provide for you?

Confidence, Trust and Love…

Three words sorely missing from our culture and lives today.  As a matter of fact, over the years, confidence and trust in things of the world has been replaced (by me anyway) from gratuitous and often mindless “agreement” to loud chuckling, guffawing and outright laughter.  My parent’s generation was conditioned to follow to the letter and believe anything said by anyone in the public eye.  This included not only those people in charge, but also anything anyone said on TV or in the news.  Today however, I believe it’s a much different story.  We’ve been lied to so many times, in so many different ways, that anything anyone says is looked upon with a jaundiced eye and a raised eyebrow.

I’m a bit of a news junkie, but nowadays with almost every word or written story, I shake my head and wonder in disbelief, “What in the world are they thinking?”  From the self-serving antics of the political arena (on both sides of the aisle), political correctness (whatever that is), global saber rattling and religious power wrangling to the hilarious buffoonery of Hollywood, all I can do is laugh.  The world stage is a comedy of errors, (some would say a comedy of terrors).  But, if anything, it makes for wonderful entertainment.  I often ponder what the person next door is thinking.  Do they see the same things I do, or are they in staunch agreement with things as they are being reported in the world?  I often wonder if others see the craziness as much as I do.

I know my reactions to the above may sound a little disparaging and maybe even a bit condescending, but I really don’t mean it to.  I just can’t help but realize that what is happening in and around the world has been scripturally prophesied for centuries.  We just happen to be a part of the audience in all its spectacular foolishness.  Want to know something though…it’s all part of a grand and wonderful plan.

The one thing that I am fiercely certain of is that I know and have known for many years that my confidence and trust comes not from man, but from God.  Anyone who walks with the Lord knows this.  But, I have to admit…I sometimes like watching the show from the world’s perspective as it is stuff that can’t be made up.  It’s great fodder for amusement.  Maybe I’m wrong for my thoughts about it, but just when I think the head-scratching outrageousness of one story can’t be topped, I’m profoundly mistaken ‘cause there’s another right behind it.  The list of examples is mindboggling and I’m not even going to attempt it here.  Just turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper or surf the internet…and you’ll be able to watch the fun from a front row seat and keep yourself entertained for hours.

OK…I’m done poking fun at the world.  My apologies if I’ve offended anyone who may not see things as I’ve described them.  It’s obviously not all like this, because there are some wonderful things going on in the world.  But, the majority of it can’t be denied.  The sad truth about it is that man (humans) will always let us down.  They will disappoint us, steer us wrong and deceive and mislead us.  As Christians however, we still have to love them.  We don’t have to trust, believe or “buy in” to them, but we’re called to love them.  It’s putting the heart of the Father on display in our lives every day so others see it.  And, it’s what separates us from those who don’t believe.  This has nothing to do with going to church or loving those people in our lives who are easy to love.  It’s about loving those who are difficult and challenging to love.  Those who cause the hairs on our necks to bristle every time we see them or hear them speak.  Do you know a few folks like these in your life?

The grand and wonderful plan I spoke of earlier is God’s plan.  I’ve explained in other blog essays that God isn’t surprised by anything.  He knows exactly what is happening, how it is happening and why it is happening.  So, I try not to be annoyed or get upset about what is happening all around us.  I just try and let God be God and continue to love on people as much as I can.  The word “love” and variations of it can be found between 500-600 times in the Bible, dependent upon the version.  Plus, there are over 35 scriptures relating to loving our neighbors (people/humans) and the word “trust” is used over 100 times.  So, my humble assumption is that these are key commitments in our walk with Him…wouldn’t you agree?

Jesus was asked by a religious leader of the day which of all the commandments was the most important.  His reply can be found in the book of Mark, chapter 12, verses 29-31 (NIV); “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this:…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  There is no commandment greater than these”.

Loving those who are difficult to love can be hard, and I am a definite work in progress when it comes to this.  But, it is a foundational tenet of having a relationship with God and this is where unwavering confidence, trust and love can be found…in Him.  He is the only one who will not let us down.  So, when things of the world seem chaotic and confusing, know that you have absolutely no control over it.  Just put the heart of the Father on display and love on those around you…every day.

And, maybe…just maybe, by doing so, you’ll make a vast and enormous difference in the life of someone whose existence is mired in the world’s madness.