Thursday, December 31, 2009


This morning I imagine God looking down on me and the rest of humanity; in some places lives are out of control and in some, there is complete order. More often, lives are found somewhere in the middle. God observes. The owner of a large fish tank of sorts. Some fish swim in schools and yield to the environment around them, while others thrust back and forth hoping for escape. Chaos and peace in union with one another. And as I contemplate on God looking down on creation, I feel as if I get a very small glimpse of how He sees us.

I’m realizing that our relationship with God is much of the time in complete opposition to the culture around us. While we strive to gain just a hint of control in our lives, God subtly whispers for us release any semblance of control to Him. Maybe stability will only be found through instability. Maybe peace will only be found through chaos. Contentment will only be found through our souls being discontent. For only at that point do we realize our true dependence on God. A child can only throw so many temper tantrums before he releases all that pent up anger and frustration, and falls limp into his father’s arms and submits to what he knew was right in the first place. But with that release comes peace; a “peace that transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” This is one of those verses that seems to tie everything together. It makes complete sense and yet for some reason, it comes so difficult to all of us. Whether from our parents or culture, we are taught from a very early age to trust in ourselves. To be in control of your own emotions is the ultimate goal because if it feels good, do it. Maybe the answer lies in sometimes doing what doesn’t “feel” right. Maybe it’s somewhere in between.

Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld, where frustrated with failure, George comes to the conclusion that the answer to his success might come from doing the complete “opposite” of what he had always done? As with most concepts in Seinfeld, it was ridiculous, pointless and revolved around “nothing”. But I found that there was actually a grain of truth in George’s thought process. As George threw caution to the wind, in a somewhat helpless attempt to find success, he finally became honest about who he was in many aspects.

I wonder if there might be a hint of theology in this as well. The gospel according to George? Do we throw caution to the wind and do everything opposite of what we have always done? Well, if you remember correctly, in subsequent episodes, George finds that failure still finds him, even in doing the opposite of what his instincts have led him to do. But maybe in some areas of life, our first instinct is not always the best choice to make. Maybe trusting our emotions and feelings is not always what guides us in the right direction.

Scripture tells us that there is a way that seems right to man, but God’s ways are not our ways and part of our understanding of God lies in the fact that we cannot always understand Him. Acknowledging that God is God, and we are not, gets us to a place where we have no other alternative but to submit to Him and the fact that He just might know what’s better for us than we do. After all, Scripture is filled with examples of people that futilely tried to do things they’re own way, only to hit proverbial the brink wall. Peace and success are realized in the lives of those who learned to be in full submission to His sovereignty and will. Those that finally decided that they might just be better off doing the “opposite” of what they have always done.

"Serenity" - Watercolor by Judi McWilliams -

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