The frustrating timetable of God & the secret that Paul knew—-#21 of the 30 day challenge to blog

The frustrating timetable of God is the solitary and often lonely path to developing a trusting heart in Abba, God. In other words, trusting in God is the only way to learn how to trust God. And we can’t learn trust, if there isn’t circumstances that are out of our control. This has been a common conversation between some of my friends, that happens as often as the sun is sure to rise, and eventually set. Throughout the course of our life, it seems as though, this maybe be one of the handful of traits that God is concerned with developing in his disciples in our short time in this life. He cares about deeper things, than we care about. Period. While we care about tomorrow, he lives beyond tomorrow. We care about money, he has no need for it. We fear death, God lives beyond the grave. We care about growing old, God never fades. We cry when someone dies too soon, God looks at all of human life as if it is all so short and temporary. We fret, frail, sob, pound our fists on steering wheels and walls when things don’t go our way, God loves when that happens—because he wants us to trust him, love him, and find joy no matter what the circumstances are, even death.

My beautiful wife is so wise, and it’s not something that hasn’t been said before, or that I haven’t heard or known before, but this evening when we were discussing this she simply said…”I think God likes showing up at the last minute, so we will have no other excuse except to know that it was him at work versus something we did on our own.”

She’s right. I said to her and to my friend tonight, “God always shows up last minute, that’s just his style.” Because of what I have learned from smarter men & women than me I know that two words that can never be separated for the disciple of Jesus is this: trust & gratitude.

On the subject Brennan Manning said,

“ The dominant characteristic of an authentic spiritual life is the gratitude that flows from trust—not only for all the gifts that I receive from God, but gratitude for all the suffering. Because in that purifying experience, suffering has often been the shortest path to intimacy with God.”

But who likes to suffer? Again, you’re only a weirdo if you walk down the street screaming, “Anybody know where I can suffer around here?”

We live in an era of history, where we are all simply worry-warts, myself included. In my opinion, especially upon examining my own self, this is born from our desire to be kings. We want to be praised, worshiped, and served. To put it laymans terms, we want…

We want it, and we want it now. And beneath this grossness, is the deepest sin at the bottom layer of all of our hearts…pride. All any of us can do at the end of the day is our best to love God, and love people well. To live in response to the furious and wonderfully ridiculous love of God, not in a self-earning legalistic way, but as one who has fallen in love in such a way that nothing else matters except…to respond, whether it be cartwheels, obedience…or baking your invalid neighbor cookies.

So the challenge for you, and myself if we truly want to trust God, rather  than wrap ourselves in the warm security blanket of being a worry wart…is for ourselves to ask ourselves a hard question. What am I worried about?

For some they are in utter folly. Instead of providing for our families we are taking a rent money and playing black jack at the local casino, or buying six pack of beers. What’s wrong with a good brewski, you ask? If your conscience allows…nothing. Nothing unless you can’t buy your baby diapers because you’d rather have a corona light.

But for those who aren’t in utter folly, those who genuinely love God, love people, and are trying to follow Jesus…how do you trust in God when he’s frustrating the hell out of you…He’s not giving you the big picture, he’s killing your dreams by not giving you your idols, and not letting you get that big promotion at work, or your dream job at the accounting firm? What if he’s not only letting you have a bad hair day, but what if he’s giving a Job-like life and killing your loved ones? Get’s a little harder to trust God. This is, as they say, where the rubber meets the road.

It’s much easier to say that we trust in God, than to actually do it. But God isn’t, hasn’t been, and never will be looking for lip service. Matter of fact I think God could care less if we were able to talk again in our human language, because actions truly do speak louder the words…and over the years in my own personal intimacy with the Jesus of my journey…I’m convinced that the “heavenly” language is the language not spoken with tongues…but one spoken with the heart.

It’s easy to quote a bible verse when someone is going through a shitty time like, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” It’s super easy, because you want to be helpful. But you know when it’s not helpful…when you are the one going through the shitty time…and some smiling ass clown from church comes up and quotes that to you…when maybe, lets say, you just buried your child. They still mean well, God love em’…but you know sometimes it’s not always helpful to hear the scriptures quoted out loud to you in the hardest times…it’s more helpful if they speak the scriptures to you with their heart rather than with their lips.

Because I’m falling asleep as I write, let me cut to the chase. What’s standing in the way of you, and me trusting God, and considering it pure joy when the world is falling down around us (metaphorically in our own lives)…well the simple answer is this: YOU. You, me, and all of us stand in our own ways of whatever God wants to do via wreaking havoc in our lives with his unpredictable love. And you know what if you want to bang your head against the wall and not trust him go for it…but let me ask you this…is that gonna make you happy? Or let me ask a better question asked by the Absolutely Better, Jesus himself…”Will worrying add one more hour to your life?”

You. Yes you, who is worrying right now because of this or that…Do you have kids? No? Do you have someone you love in your life? Wouldn’t you rather spend time with them, play with them, laugh with them, watch a movie with them then sit around sweating, pacing, and worrying yourself to death. “Yeah, but…” you say…Yeah but nothing…Let’s me not pull punches here…either way we all end up in a box six feet beneath the earth…and worrying aint’ gonna put one more second on the clock before that inevitable day comes…so what’s Jesus saying with the referenced scripture above…He’s saying, “Knock it off”.

Remember in elementary school, or for me college, when someone would just smack you upside the head when you were being a jack ass…and say “knock it off”…and some how that simple statement is all that you needed to realize how silly and immature you have been acting? Well, I think when it comes to spiritual maturity…worrying may be at the top of the spiritual immaturity list.

Imagine you have an annoying kid, or you are an annoying kid…and you’re driving somewhere, and they start freaking out…and even screaming…because kids have no conception of time or distance…and even if you try to explain it to your 16 month year old …they ain’t gonna get it …so you just say…”Trust me.” They may choose to or not…it’s their choice…but at the end of the day they can kick, and scream all they want…they are the one’s that look like they tumbling around in a dryer for no reason whatsoever. They look silly.

And so do you, and me, and we… when we do the same thing…even if we are quiet about it. We kick, scream, yell, cry, and pound our fists on the ground…for some it may even be more serious…like with Job’s wife in the scriptures we may be telling your own heart…”Just curse God and die already.”

We can like it, or not like it. We can kick and scream. Or embrace his love, and surrender…at the end of the day God’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. And the only hope you have, is found in the only true gospel there is…the gospel of Jesus. And the hope of the gospel is Jesus and only Jesus. That’s really the only thing that is promised in this life. And isn’t that the better thing anyway.

Because here’s the truth.

Jesus is better than the promotion at your job.

Jesus is better than money.

Jesus is better than security.

Jesus is better than your job.

Jesus’ love is better than anyone else’s love…because his comes with no strings attached. Where everyone else in your life loves you…”if”…and “as long as”…

Jesus is better than your future, because he is your future.

Jesus said “i am the bread of life”…and also “I am the way the truth, and the life”….I kinda like to think Jesus is saying…”I came to bring you me”

But still…shit happens, and life sucks sometimes right? Right. Well, go have yourself a good cry…than I want you to ask yourself something…for those that may or may not know this…Paul, who wrote much of the new testament in the Christian Scriptures…was in prison…a repeat offender if you will…and being a visual person…when I’m struggling with being a worry wart…and having a pity party…and crying myself a river…and all joking aside…when I”m living out of my fears versus reckless abandoning myself to trusting in furious and always dependable love of my Abba God…I picture Paul…because when Paul was in prison…he was often singing songs to Jesus…and when I picture this I picture a smile on his face…and when I think about that…I think, what secret did Paul know that the rest of us don’t? Because most of us are living in condo’s and driving bmw’s and still are having a panic attack because we are worried about not getting a better car…and yet here is Paul, smiling, singing in PRISON…

Here’s the secret that I think Paul knew, and might say to us in this whole worry wart, trusting Jesus conversation…In Phillipians 3:8…Paul says, “… I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Paul get’s it. To Paul, nothing else matters, because to Paul, Jesus is all that matters.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 27, 2015.

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