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Monday, August 15, 2005

The Mighty Hand of God is sometimes soft, and subtle

I Peter 5:5-11
5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to
the humble."[
a] 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I may be dealing with two issues here. I hope I can keep them straight.

Remember when we were in school, primarily Jr High and High School, when we were done with English, we packed up our books and went down the hall and around the corner to Math class and did Math until we were done and had to go to Social Studies or History or (argh!) Gym class.

God doesn't teach us like this. He teaches us many things all at once and as we go. I don't learn everything there is to know about humility and then move on to taming the tongue class, or Mercy 101, or Forgiveness through the Ages. Sometimes I think I have mastered something, and then I seem to have to learn it all over again. All tests are practical and some are multiple choice and true and false at the same time. Pop quizes are the norm.

So where was I...

Ah yes, I was going to talk about how a godly woman in my church this Sunday just turned a light on for me. The question in Sunday School was: What would we rather do instead of praying. MaryLee Bayly said that we would rather be talking about the situation that is troubling us, rather than giving it to God.

Is this not what I do? I go on and on about my troubles, in fact, sometimes, if I am not fussing about my troubles, I begin to think that I must not be concerned about them! However, I Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our cares upon Him, for He careth for us. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Who can I trust with the beginning and the end? God! Who tells me to give my concerns, fears, troubles to Him? God! Who can handle all of these, and loves me? God!

What am I saying to God when I talk to Him about those things that worry me, make me afraid, and then continue to worry and talk and fuss and "fret" (see Psalm 37)? I am saying that I don't think His arm is long enough for this one. I am saying that I am the one who must figure this out, and that He is not sufficient to the task.

What am I saying to others? I am saying, hey you're on your own, do the best you can, because My God is to small for even my concerns.

So, thanks to MaryLee I have mastered this faith thing...again.

Since I thought immediately of I Peter 5:7 when MaryLee turned the light on, I happened to see the rest of that passage (above; I Peter 5:5&6). The idea of submitting to one another, and to older people, and to husbands, and to one another. Linda Stewart, also a godly woman in my church has helped me with this regarding the idea of dying to self. If I feel like I must be understood, or that someone must hear about it if they have wronged me (so that I can forgive them, by the way!), that I can die to myself, and as the following passage said, "consider others better than yourselves...look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." How can I insist that I be understood when I am called upon to have the attitude of Christ Himself.

Philippians 2:3-11

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[
a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being
made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Father, I will bring my cares to you, because you bid me to. Make me, then to stand firm in the faith before you, that others may see and glorify You.


Rachel Pierson said...

OK, Here's how good I am at learning. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent just the day after I made this post:

You have put me in a difficult position and no matter how I answer, if you talk to another person about it, or if I speak openly to you, it could potentially sound hurtful. I am not positive that I can talk confidentially with you, but I am not sure I have the choice not to.

I will not ... and I will not .... (etc., etc., blah, blah, blah...) I do not plan to .... I do not want you to .... (etc., etc., blah, blah, blah...) Please tell me if you .... I do not want you to .... I will talk to her.

I am .... As God leads, I have found myself .... I DO want to ... and I do NOT want to ..., but I will not .... I am not a renegade, and I am not a rebel.

(etc., etc., blah, blah, blah...)
Love in Christ,

Some puttin' the needs of others ahead of myself, eh?

God, put a guard atmy mouth and at my keyboard, and if you give me the words, may I speak them boldly. But if you have not given to me to speak, then let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth and let me not bring disgrace to Your Holy Name!

Hind's Feet said...

Again and again you hit it on the head. You humble me in your search. You amaze me as you listen, learn and apply. And yet, not you, but God in you, and He alone, to do what needs to be done. Thanks for continuing to remind each of us, it IS GOD ALONE and not we ourselves who has the power to change lives--ours and others. I am so thankful that I am NOT in charge, no matter how hard I try or think I should be. I am grateful that God Himself is the ONLY one with the power to do what needs to be done. I am merely His tool. May I rest in that. May I remember that.
Blessings dear friend! I look forward to resuming our weekly studies again.