“Don’t be surprised when bad things happen to you.” This is a lesson I have been reading throughout the bible about the brokenness of this world. Man is inherently evil. It’s interesting how just yesterday I read and wrote about a message from King Solomon that instructed us to follow and apply what we read in the bible. I read these things in the scriptures and repeat them to help others during times of frustration and distress. It’s easy to say those things when you aren’t in the situation. This week while on vacation we discovered that someone had been stealing money out of my pants. I haven’t caught anyone “red handed,” as much as I would love to, and suddenly, like a man who looks in a mirror, looks away, and immediately forgets what his face looks like, I am surprised and angered that someone so blatantly has sinned against me and my wife. Someone violated the sense of security I had in the physical location of my cash.
I was able to “zoom out” a little from my struggle with this and think about someone who maybe has lost someone in a tragic accident or even worse, was murdered. If it is so difficult for me to accept someone stealing a mere $40 from my wallet, how much more difficult will it be for me to accept being physically assaulted or one of my loved ones violently murdered? We are not able to handle these things on our own. This is why it is crucial to rely upon the Spirit of God for these things. “Lord, I know you don’t want me to feel this way. I know you have all things in control. I know you want me to continue acting lovingly like leaving a tip for the folks cleaning this place even though I think they stole over $100 from you over the course of this week (it happened more than once). I know that through James, the half-brother of Jesus you tell us to ask for wisdom expectedly in James 1: 19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. Here it is Lord: despite knowing the truth, I need help with patience and belief in it. Help me with my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)”
God calls us to turn the other cheek. He implores us to not make money our God. He tells us not to pay back evil with evil, for vengeance is His. He warns us not to put our faith and hope in men, but in Him. But I can’t. My fleshly desire for justice, vengeance, and “my will be done” are getting in the way. What do I see when I put my desires away? I see what my wife prayed for, “Lord, I pray that whoever has taken this money benefits from it and that you help them get into a position where they no longer need to steal.” But how can I transform my heart to feel this way? I feel like Peter sinking outside his boat on the Sea of Galilee. The choppy waters and violent wind is distracting me from keeping my focus on Christ. God tells us to delight in Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. If we fight to stay focused on Him He will transform our heart to desire what He desires. “I’m trying Father, but I can’t.” With man this is impossible; yeah I’m discovering that practically right now. But with God, all things are possible; thank you daddy for the surety and strength of your perfect design.
Our faith is a journey of us learning to trust God with everything, even when we don’t like the way He does things or don’t agree with His ways. I’m not writing this to portray my existence of faith or that I am strong in the faith; it is about my desperate need for Him in my life because if He wants me to do it His way, He’s gonna have to help me (which is exactly how He wants it to be). I’m understanding more now abut what Solomon has been meaning about wisdom: that it isn’t about what we know but how we apply it. Yeah, I agree with what he has been saying in Ecclesiastes and I’ve been doing my best to take it to heart. Now I have to apply it. Are you?