October 16, 2011

Deuteronomy 6:11-12 When you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

This is a perennial problem for God’s people, and Moses touched on it several times in Deuteronomy. When things are going well, we have a strong tendency to forget God. In our shortsightedness and foolishness, we think we have accomplished things on our own, not realizing that we can’t even breathe without God’s grace upon us. It is easy to get righteously indignant over atheists who deny God’s existence with this kind of thinking, but Christians fall into it themselves all too easily. That’s a major reason why God allows trials and difficulties in our lives, because at such times we cry out to Him. He isn’t being mean to us, because He knows that denying Him brings far greater disaster on us than anything we could experience in this life. We could avoid a lot of trouble if we would only maintain a clear and obedient awareness of and gratitude toward God. That’s not to say that people with such an attitude don’t have problems, because there are other reasons as well for the trials we face. Sometimes God needs to teach us specific things, and sometimes trials are simply the consequence of living in a fallen world. However, maintaining a clear focus on God keeps us from unnecessary problems, and it certainly makes the journey more pleasant!

One of the biggest blessings of walking with the Lord for a long time is getting this truth worked into you. I can’t say I’ve learned it perfectly, but I am very grateful for the degree to which I have gotten it through my thick skull. Perspective does indeed change with age, and temporal problems are much better understood as temporary. I don’t enjoy problems any more than I ever did, but I don’t suffer from them as badly, because I understand better how minor they are on the eternal scale. That doesn’t keep me from all anxiety, as I just demonstrated, but it does make life much easier. The difficulty is in communicating this truth to others, especially those much younger than I am. I must be very careful not to sound superior or condescending, but rather let the love and grace of God flow through me.

Father, thank You for this reminder of an ongoing issue. Help me maintain sharp awareness of my own dependence on You and communicate effectively the blessedness of that condition to others. May we as a church rejoice to be Your children, fully dependent and obedient on You, not in a passive way but actively doing Your will in Your way for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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