There’s a fantastic song by Caedmon’s Call, which is called Masquerade (linked to YouTube, if you want to listen), and it speaks of the illusion that city lights can make, leading us to believe that it’s almost as bright as the day. It tells the story of such a city and the contrast when a lightning storm rolls in. The lightning flashes so brightly that the city lights are shown for what they are, poor imitations of the real thing. In fact, the song goes so far as to say, “Now the lights of that little town were as dark as the night compared to His light!”
This morning, I was coming to terms with my own humanity. In so many ways, I hate myself. I’m inefficient, inadequate to my own standards, and generally am not the person I want to be; worse yet, a lot of what bugs me about me are things I can do nothing about! My brain is what it is; I’ve experienced trauma I didn’t know how to avoid, been through trials I had no control over, and I’ve made mistakes I didn’t know would cause the damages they have. In short, I am a man in such desperate need of mercy and grace, I can feel it with every breath! So, why do I tell you this?
Every attempt of mankind to “find God” is fraught with futility. Whether you go the Roman Catholic way of penance and confession, good works, or whether you go the Mormon way of emotional experiences, following the Mormon Church’s exact guidance, or whether you are of the Church of Climate Change, believing that elitist ideology, perfect composting, and a minimum “carbon footprint” will save the world. (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to insult anyone here; this isn’t a comparative religions post, so I’m not claiming anything exacting about these groups, just using them as an example.) No matter where you go, if you’re trying to find God, find a god, or find some god-like existence or perfection, you WILL fall short of it! Even if you are a Protestant (or Non-Denominational) Christian, trying to find God will leave you lost!
In reality, humans have never had to “find God”. In point of fact, the action words in the Bible are more like looking for something that you have an idea where it is. Like looking for a book, or trying to find your shoe, as opposed to trying to find love or peace. God isn’t hiding. But quite often, we are!
We hide behind our comfort foods. We hide in our media (TV shows, news, or streaming content). We hide behind pleasure, be it sexual relationships, pornography, or adrenaline rushes. We encase ourselves in our careers, our houses, and our cars, and we think that we have somehow “arrived” at the place we’ve always desired, but eventually, the lightning crashes down reveals that all of our fancy lights are but mere darkness compared to what our souls ultimately craze in The Almighty.
Today, I caught myself pining for the future, for a time when my present “lack” would be filled, and my current frustrations and pangs would cease. And as I pined for that future, God gently whispered, “when will you choose to be happy with Me?” It was not a condemnation. Quite the opposite, it was the cry of a Father who has given His son so much, and His son (that’d be me, if it’s difficult to follow) has not been wholly grateful. And it’s not like I’m ungrateful.
In fact, it’s the fact that I’ve become absorbed in the thoughts and expectations of dozens of people. I’ve gotten lost in what seems best, in what makes fiscal sense, in what my day-to-day life of tangible needs has burdened me with! I’ve gotten lost in the gratefulness of what I have. I’ve forgotten to be grateful for what I truly have.
“What? You lost me!”
I know. I’m sorry. It’s hard to express this properly. Let me use a tangible, albeit fictional, example. Let’s say that I have a small apartment, a wife who’s expecting, and we are about to buy our first house. In such an example, I am so grateful for this apartment, for my first child, for my wife, and for the possibility of a house that I get lost and start to worry about how to get a house in this market. I start worrying about whether I make enough (yeah, my boss just said I’m getting one of the biggest raises of my career), whether we’ll have enough room, whether it’s the right neighborhood, or is it close enough to schools, etc. Let me highlight that for you: I start to worry!!! And as I worry, I forget that I have a job! Not everyone has a job; oh, I remember when I didn’t have one, how scary it could be to be running low on money, or to have to pick whether we pay a bill or get food! I forget that I have an apartment that provides shelter from the elements! Oh man, I remember when we had that previous apartment that was so drafty and barely kept the heat in! I forget that my wife loves me, and that we can raise our child, under the gracious protection of The Almighty, regardless of where we end up living.
I forget that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me like my own Dad did. (The example has ended, by the way.) Sometimes, we are grateful just so far. We remember to be thankful for A, B, and C, but we forget to go all the way to X, Y, and Z. Or maybe we forget to be grateful for O because it’s round, and we really needed a square! Or we forget to be grateful for P and Q because those were difficult and by the time we got through them, we were more grateful to be on the other side of the trial than we were to have P and Q. (Incredibly important letters, P and Q; they’re often understated, but they are quite perspicacious in their qualms and inquisitive purposes. LOL! Sorry, I had to do it, but they are important, yet understated, letters!)
At the end of the day, especially in America, it’s very easy for us to think we’ve got it together, to think we don’t need Jesus, and to think we are truly grateful for everything we’ve received. But today, I challenge you to look at the things you might be forgetting to be grateful for, the things God has placed in your life to bless you, help you, or challenge you! And sometimes, those challenges are a challenge to turn away from what we think we need and to spend time in the Arms of the One we really need!
Today, I choose to embrace the pain, grab hold of the frustrations, and press through them both. The Lord is greater than any of my troubles, and I desire to know Him fully and unrestricted! I would rather pursue His best for my life than to back-hand Him with my temporary pleasures or my immediate entertainment. I choose to power down my city’s lights out of a desire to wait for and see His daylight.
Whatever my challenges, worries, or struggles are today, He is more than able to overcome them! So, I choose to trust Him and press into my relationship with Him, trusting Him to work out the details.
Dear Reader, I pray you will trust Him, too, and that you will press into a relationship with Jesus, the Messiah/Christ. If you don’t know Him, you can begin a relationship with Him today. It starts with you admitting that you’ve sinned, that you have broken God’s laws, gone against His righteousness. Then, you simply declare (and believe) that He has died in your place and risen from the grave. And from this day forward, you start digging into this relationship with Him; get to know Him through His Word, the Bible, and through prayer (really, just a conversation with God). And as you get to know Him, He’ll show you areas of your life where sin has messed up His original purpose for you. As He shows you those areas, do what He says and let the cleanup begin (and eventually complete). Oh, and the last thing, find a church near you that teaches from the Bible and get into fellowship with other believers (hang out, talk about what God’s teaching you, hear what God’s teaching them). We need the support of each other, especially in these dark days when so much is turning against God.
If you don’t have a Bible and would like one sent to you, you can request one through WayFM (this site is not affiliated, nor do we receive any benefit from WayFM): https://www.wayfm.com/bible/
Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10