Friday, June 01, 2012

Our Only Help and Hope versus THE ASSAULT- Jer. 12

I wanted you to read this amazing chapter in the style of The Message, a street-wise translation by Eugene Peterson

Jeremiah 12
What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?
 1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right. I can't argue with that. But I do have some questions:Why do bad people have it so good?    Why do con artists make it big?You planted them and they put down roots.    They flourished and produced fruit.They talk as if they're old friends with you,    but they couldn't care less about you.Meanwhile, you know me inside and out.    You don't let me get by with a thing!Make them pay for the way they live,    pay with their lives, like sheep marked for slaughter.How long do we have to put up with this—    the country depressed, the farms in ruin—And all because of wickedness, these wicked lives?    Even animals and birds are dying offBecause they'll have nothing to do with God    and think God has nothing to do with them. 5-6"So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men,
   what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm,
   what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?

Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,
   are working against you.
They're out to get you. They'll stop at nothing.
   Don't trust them, especially when they're smiling.

It doesn't take very long in life to realize that we are under siege. I am often overcome with thoughts of how ANYONE can live this life without some anchor in the Lord.

We took our first family beach trip in almost 3 years this week. It took a full two days to finally feel my body give way into the beauty, and the waves, and the sand. I sat rigid in my beach chair, miserable the entire first day.

My prayer life for 2 days was this: "Lord, do not let me think of football or my job on this vacation" and it was a fight.

But slowly, the tan erased the strain and I was able to drink in refreshment and I finally was able to slow down enough to realize that I too am a victim of the assault.

What is the assault? It is the entire weight of life that is thrown at us by a maestro of darkness.
What is the siege? All that is good- especially the inward man illuminated by God's Spirit.
What are the tactics? The world system of sin and shadows- including my protection of self and my love of idols.

Even a man of God like Jeremiah is not immune to the attack. We are one day firmly stayed upon Jehovah and subtly, over time become tossed in waves of envy, fear, and doubt.

Here is what I think happens. At least from my own experience.

The first step away from godly contentment begins with a lack of gratitude. No matter how well I preach the message- I do not know how to really count my blessings.

Take the beach trip. Did I really understand that we arrived SAFELY? Was I grateful to actually be on a vacation? Was I relishing the time I had with my family all together?

Or did I notice all the flaws and discomforts?

Then I begin to COMPARE AND COMPETE. Look at Jeremiah's attitude...He is complaining. 'God... evil men are prospering and you put me in a place of lack. And because You are God, it is Your fault!'

I laughed all week because we had 3 families pitch in and stayed in a penthouse condominium. Everytime we pressed or asked someone to press 'PH' on the elevator- we had looks and comments. Some were envious, some were curious, and some were plain rude. It got to where I dreaded someone asking me 'what floor?'.

Satan is always on the assault to ruin our joy. He whispers to our self- YOU DESERVE MORE! He also helps us to pass along gossip with just enough truth to hurt. He creates a lack of trust.

One HUGE help for me this week was to get away from technology. Unplugged was good. I didn't watch FOX News for 3 days and the world got a whole lot better. I didn't read a tweet for 2 days and I actually prayed more and read the Bible.

And God's message?

"So, (JAY)Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men,
   what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm,
   what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?

Lord forgive me. I need to be more thankful and more loving. You are caring for me. I need to let self be crushed to the ground in pity and find great assurance in YOU!

The siege will NEVER stop. But with God.. I never have to go down in defeat!

By the end of the trip- I was so relaxed in the beauty of His creation. I am sad to leave. But the eternal rest is still an unknown journey away.

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