Monday, February 2, 2009

Flux (Part II)

In an instant, you move from the "valleys" of life, to the "hilltops". Tragedy turns to joy and you finally see the hilltop is just up ahead. You've been clawing your way up for some time now. You take a deep breath, take a few more steps, pull yourself up to the next foothold, and briefly consider resting for a while. No way! The excitement of finally being out of the "valley" causes you to accelerate your ascension. You're almost there! You press on, and although your arms ache, your legs quiver as they lose strength, and your fingers bleed from the climb, you finally reach your destination! A sudden rush of adrenaline surges through your exhausted body as you feel release. Like an animal that has just broken free form a confining and painful trap. You made it! The view is great, isn't it? You take a deep breath and take it all in. You're not only finally out of the "valley", but you've reached the peak. This is what it's all about, right? But now what?

"This time, my life is going to change for good! Through this difficult time, I've learned what I need to keep myself on track!" But a few days pass and as usual, life continues to happen around us. We find ourselves moving just a little closer to the edge of the "hilltop". After all, we're too smart to allow ourselves to make the same mistakes as we did before, right? We hop down a few levels, just to see what's going on down there. We explore a bit more than we should, because we're stronger now, right? We've learned ALL we need to know. But soon, complacency gives birth to stupidity and before we know it, we are heading full speed, on our way down to the next "valley" that awaits us; fueled by complacency. Drawn by the excitement of the descent, we make our way down, knowing full well what follows. We become disillusioned.

I've found that the ancient Israelites get a bad rap. Seeing the big picture before us, we see a nation that was chosen by God and continuously blessed by God. Even today, it's easy to see God's hand upon His chosen people. But, all you have to do is read through Isaiah 1:1-31, and you can clearly see how they seemed to have had a habit of discounting the "hilltops" of their lives. They became complacent, discount God's favor and complain until they find themselves heading downhill, inevitably toward the next "valley". But are we no different than them? Each time Israel followed God and cherished their relationship with Him, they thrived! Blessing upon blessing was poured out on them! They succeeded financially, socially, culturally, militarily and of course, spiritually. But what they soon did is not much different than what we do as followers of Christ. We settle into that comfy chair and continue to find more ways to justify mediocrity. After all, it's comfortable, isn't it? The predictability of life becomes something we can count on, and in a world that is increasingly unstable, we begin to rely on spiritual stability. We begin to live in a lull of life, and create an invulnerable persona of ourselves. Sound familiar?

Hence, the danger of complacency. As C.S. Lewis wrote, "God whispers to us in our pleasures", possibly because we should have our ears wide open! But the descent calls to us, and we rush down the slope in a state of spiritual amnesia. Our defenses are broken down and the flux of life continues.

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