To the thinkers

“Understanding will never bring you Peace. That’s why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for understanding (mastery), instead of seeking Me (you Master).”

From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, August 7th (read it on the 7th, decided today that it’s too good not to share)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do no lean on your own understanding.”

– Proverbs 3:5, which sat stuck to my headboard for many many years.

Event Planning 101

  1. Never completely trust an “I wanna go!!!” Save yourself the heartache. Don’t get excited until you’re all on the road / at the party … etc.
  2. Asking “Do you want to go on a road trip?” is the same as asking “Do you like road trips?” It gives you no indication of whether the person will actually go on a road trip with you on any day you suggest.
  3. Instead, ask, “Do you want to go camping at Location Alpha with myself and so-and-so from the umpteenth of Mayvember to the impteenth of Apruary? It’ll cost $300. We’re leaving by 19:07 and returning by 15:29.”
  4. Remember that your friends are still your friends, even if they keep bailing on you. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Sometimes, I feel that righteousness alone would not actually be that hard. (Now really, it is, but let us conjecture for a short while.) That would be to claim, perhaps rightly, that you are in the right and have been wronged and there’s no argument about it anymore.

But to have righteousness with grace and mercy and peace is another thing completely. To be in the right but not to boast, or be proud, or seek to dishonour others by pointing out that you were in the right (unlike somebody), and not be easily angered, and yet after that to keep no record of wrongs, and then following all the aftermath to still want to trust and hope and persevere? This is where the Bible gives us a far far higher standard than to merely be righteous.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…

…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I’ve heard a cancer patient talk about how difficult it was when she was waiting to hear back about whether it would be a serious cancer or not. It was a rough month of waiting and not knowing. Then she realized this: that the result that came back did not matter, but if she would receive whatever news with the peace of God, having trusted his goodness in either scenario, that was what mattered, and what she had to cultivate.

Coming from November 11th, Remembrance Day here in Canada, and the associated stories of soldiers told by family members who remember God’s faithfulness in narrowly saving this soldier or bringing that soldier home despite the odds, it remains that more still were not spared the bullet and were not brought home safely. What of God’s faithfulness to their family? As such, it is essential to cultivate a thankfulness and remembrance of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances, to not reduce God to being powerful only when He is granting our desires against all odds, but to see Him as mighty to accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will even through everything that is not so pleasant.

This is still beyond my understanding.

An Intriguing Song – Joy (Page CXVI)

Listen to this song, “Joy” sung by Tifah Al-Attas, and see if you laugh or not!

The dissonance between the words and the melody/demeanour sounds ludicrous at first. But once you understand the sort of struggle it is to have an attitude of joy amidst intense grief, it isn’t so funny. It’s strangely identifiable. You find yourself at peace with how things are, but also overwhelmed with loss, and you can’t pretend that everything will be alright in the end, but you can know that God is working purposefully, if for no purpose you can see.

Read Tifah’s story of loss behind writing this song: http://blog.pagecxvi.com/post/683764188/joy

Alternatively, you could watch this video of a live performance where she explains the song to her audience first.

Alas, I do not laugh anymore when I hear this song, for I understand its artistry too well now.

You

You make life difficult, ______ .
Your existence, but absence, confounds me.
Your care, apparent one day,
                faint memory the next,
        seems like tumultuous waters.

But the Lord your God is unchanging.

The Lord is our God, a good Shepherd,
        and I shall not want.

This must be it: Psalm 37:3-6

“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Like every other person existing, I have problems trusting God to be letting what’s ‘best’ for me happen to me. How about let’s just have everything happen the way I want it! kthnxbye.

But on a serious note, I think the last two lines there, when they talk of your righteousness and justice, don’t mean that you are inherently so. Rather, it is by delighting yourself God’s plans, whatever they be, and committing your way to coincide with his (and he is inherently righteous and just), that you act righteously and that your causes are justified.

This passage sounds really positive and rainbow/flower/sunshiney, but I think the implication of non-committal would be making yourself unrighteous.

It’s very difficult to be happy about this. But I think having it out there that this is what I’ve got to do is helping make me less of a peevish child.

Troubled and afraid?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

I was reading some Oswald Chambers, and he mentions this verse. It resonated with something I read when I was little – a novel called Julie of the Wolves. Julie’s father had said to her “Change your ways when fear seizes, for it usually means you are doing something wrong.” (p23)

There is some simple truth to that, but now I realise that is because it agrees with what Jesus teaches here in John. He gives us peace by leaving us the Holy Spirit; if we feel troubled and afraid, we are doing something wrong. Either we do not have the Spirit, or we are pushing it away and letting other things (the world) dominate our heart.

I just mention this because I was rather on the troubled and afraid turf, and find this motivating to start changing my heart.