Monthly Archives: November 2016

When the world is topsy-turvy

I’m sitting by her in my usual spot. She’s had a worse day than usual. She has more pain than I have ever known, and she lives with it constantly.

We heard of a treatment that we are going to try, if we are accepted. The details don’t matter.

The question is this: what happens when you are out of options? At what point do we say, “This is all we can do.”

Do we just live with it? What if this treatment doesn’t work? There are other possibilities. What if they don’t work.

What if…

What if…

What if…

And then we read this:

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. (Ecc 11:5 ESV)

There is so little that we know, as humans on this earth. We can’t figure out the most basic things. The other night, I realized that I have never even seen my own back. Mirrors don’t count – they’re backwards. (My wife tells me that this is why I don’t sleep).

If we can’t know how bones form, how the little life is formed in the womb; if we don’t know the simplest things of this life, how can we know the future?

I think this is why God forbids us to worry. It’s really idolatry. We pretend that we have access to that which God alone knows. He tells us instead to trust.

So we’ll trust. We’ll place ourselves in His hands.

We know that he didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. We know that he will not forsake us, or ever leave us.

And here, on this earth, that is enough. The day will come when this curse will be taken away, and there will be no more tears.

Until that day, we’ll go one day at a time. Solomon goes on to say,

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. (Ecc 11:6 ESV)

We’ll continue to do what God has given us to do and take one morning and one evening at a time. I’ll try to write when I can. I’ll prepare sermons beside the bed. I’ll counsel from my phone. I’ll help wherever I can.

But tomorrow is too big for me. I better leave that in the hands of the one who died for me, and rose from the dead, who promised to walk with me, even through the valley of the shadow of death.

And the day will come when we will both be at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

That’s enough for me to know right now.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Hope, Warfare

Peace and Prayer

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. (Dan 6:10 ESV)

The whole world had changed. Daniel had been taken from his homeland 70 years earlier and faithfully served the Babylonian king. But he would never bow to any other gods. His loyalty to the one true God, the creator and sustainer of the earth, was known throughout the world.

But now everything is different. Babylon had fallen. The Medes and Persians took the great city and the kingdom became theirs. Darius was now on the throne and no one knew what he would do. The political situation was in flux and terrifying for everyone throughout the whole world.

For everyone, that is, except Daniel.

Darius recognized Daniel’s gifts, and that made everyone else jealous. Daniel was promoted to the second ruler of the kingdom, and that made everyone jealous. Daniel cared about that about as much as he cared about the promotion. He would serve faithfully wherever God placed him, but his identity was firmly established in heaven, not in prestige or power. God might give; God might take away. But Daniel would be faithful and trust in God no matter what the circumstances were.

And now everything is topsy turvy. To make matters so much worse, the king of Persia succumbs to flattery and issues a decree. For thirty days, no one is to pray or ask any god anything except Darius alone.

The idea was that well-being, security, food, drink, clothing, health, yea, all things – come not by chance but by the hand of Darius the king (For those of you that know the Heidelberg Catechism, QA 27 – do you see what I did there?) Darius was usurping the place of God. God alone is our helper and our rock. God alone is the sustainer of our life and provider of every good thing. How quickly do we forget that!

So anyone who refuses to acknowledge the supreme hand of the king as the only source of life and every good thing was to be immediately thrown into a den of hungry lions. Death would be gruesome, painful and shameful.

And Daniel freaked out. Panicked. Started writing petitions. Ran to his bunker. Fled to Canada….

Woops. Not really….

What did Daniel do? The same thing that he did every day since he was a youth: He opened his window. He prayed towards Jerusalem. He gave thanks to God. Jerusalem signified the place where God’s glory was revealed. We “pray toward Jerusalem” every time we pray in Jesus’ name, because Jesus is the temple of God, the glory of God and the revelation of God.

Daniel did exactly the same thing that he always did. If God truly is the only source of every good thing; if God truly is eternal, all-powerful, good and wise; if God is our Father for the sake of Christ his Son who died for us and reconciled us to God – if all of these things are true, then the most important thing we can do is cast all of our cares on God, seeking good from his hand alone, and make all of our requests and petitions to him alone, trusting his love and care for us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phi 4:6 ESV)

Daniel did this from his youth.

From Daniel’s youth, he brought everything to Jehovah in the name of Jesus (praying towards Jerusalem). He went through upheaval after upheaval, had his life threatened over and over again. Now he is well over 80 and it looks like the good old days are over. Everything is different. What about our children? Who will provide for us now that Babylon is fallen?

But that didn’t change anything that Daniel did. It didn’t put him into turmoil It didn’t disrupt his rest in the Lord. He still did what he always did, because the kingdom of God is never rattled or shaken by anything on this earth.

Do we live in such a way that no political ruler, no law, no decree, can change how we live? Or cause us to panic? Or throw us into turmoil?

This is faith. Daniel wasn’t looking for his home in Babylon. He worked there. He was a good citizen. But he never forgot where his true loyalty was. And against all the religion of the day and all the influence of the day, he never forgot that health and sickness, rain and drought, food and drink, or any other thing, don’t come from the Dariuses of the old world, or Supreme Courts and presidents of the new world. They come from the same place they’ve always come. The hand of our almighty Father, who will never leave us or forsake us.

When his whole world was threatened, he opened the window. He knelt before God. He prayed and he gave thanks to God, just as he always did.

4 Comments

Filed under Prayer, Providence