Somewhere along the line, and I don’t know where, I think we pick up the faulty idea that if we’re serving the Lord, doing something to bring glory to Him or to bless someone in His name, that the circumstances surrounding this act should fall into place with almost magical ease.
There will be no challenges, no frustrations, no moments of stress or unrest. It should all move together with some sort of supernatural rhythm; no bumps, no stops, no roadblocks. Because, after all, we are doing His work. He will make it all work out, right?
I recently had this running conversation in my head while in the midst of a rather frustrating ordeal.
Lord, I thought You would bless me for serving You. You said in Jeremiah 29 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
Then, I believe the Lord whispered back to my whining spirit: “Yes…I have plans for you. And you will never grasp the love I have for you. Answer this: where did I promise it would be easy? Did you forget about the part where I talked about picking up your cross and following Me? You think it’s easy to carry a cross? Do you think that the straight gate and narrow way is a nicely paved sidewalk? I did promise to never leave you, nor forsake you. I was with the boys in the fiery furnace, I was with Daniel in the lion’s den, I was with Paul as he was stoned and left for dead, and I am with you as you…as you have frustrations.”
I persisted in my self-interested and negative train of thought. “I feel as if I am being punished for doing the right thing, or trying to do the right thing. Why can’t it just go smoothly, for once?”
After ruminating a bit more, I believe the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me: “But it is a blessing, because you are learning how to be more like Me. You are learning how to be more patient, you are learning to wait and seek Me before you rush into something or face the consequences of leaping before you look.
“You are learning that the cares of this world will wear you down if you let them…tell me, Wizzy…tell me…how have you been harmed by what has frustrated you? Have you not been blessed with wisdom on how not to make that same mistake again? Do you think that I caused the frustrations?
“Could there be mind tricks at play, sent by the evil one, to discourage you and cause you to doubt? Could these frustrations simply be normal run of the mill events that happen because you live in a fallen world?
“Are any of these frustrations the fruit of your own folly? Did you honestly seek Me during this time? Or did you cruise along in your flesh, taking it for granted that all would be well?
“Could it be that you are not seeing the blessing because you are not looking for it?”
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
yet their heart rages against the LORD.
The great thing is that He loves me and still teaches me, especially when I screw up. He doesn’t demand anything from me that I am incapable of giving. Other people expect something akin to perfection (though they won’t admit it, it’s true!), but praise God, He doesn’t.
Lord, help me abide in You more closely, more intimately. Keep my steps from foolish decisions. Thank You for not giving me what I deserve, and instead, always being merciful, compassionate, and understanding.