Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding the Line--Linden Malki

Contrary to some people's thinking, faith is not for wimps.  There are days it would be a lot easier to think that God isn't real or doesn't care, and just do what we want or what think we need to do all on our own. Our world is full of people who think they're in control of their own lives, or even worse, everybody else's as well. We see too many people trying to totally eliminate risk from everything--helicopter parents who hover over their children and believe they need to "be there for my kids" no matter what; bureaucrats and activists who spend their time trying to protect everybody from everything risky. 

The problem is that it doesn't work. Things don't turn out the way we expect; life isn't as easy as it looks.  We see kids growing up with no idea how to deal with anything or think somebody needs to take care of everything for them. And we also see kids who look for risk in really dangerous places because they are bored stiff with safety, or have no sense of proportion for danger.  We see people who think they can make their own reality because there are no absolutes. 

On the other hand, there are folks who see God as the magic genie; it's easy to take the "whatever" as a blank check without seeing the context of "according to His Will." The problem is that we're not as smart at God, and don't have the capacity to know past, present and future. We live finite lives in a finite world, and we're not designed to live forever on this planet. 

For those of us who have experienced the reality of God in our lives, we know that God does know and care what we do. We learn that He knows us better that we do ourselves, and knows what's good for us better that we do ourselves. We also know that He calls us to do amazing things, and expects much of us. He has given us gifts and abilities, and expects us to use them. The problem comes when we are faced with situations or decisions that we don't know whether to act on our own judgment, using all the information we have and all the guidelines we find in Scripture; or simply to do nothing, pray hard and wait for God to move in the situation. We have to find the line between depending totally on ourselves, or totally on God. I have had clear answers on both sides--in one circumstance, that there was nothing useful I could do and that He would handle it (which He did), and another time, that He gave me a brain and I should use it. I have also learned that when I cannot do what needs to be done on my own strength and abilities, that He can make  things happen. I have learned that often He supplies what I need, but not until I actually really need it; and His idea of what I need and when I need it isn't necessary the same as mine. Prayer isn't about begging and demanding, but about asking and listening. 

We are called to use His gifts and strength along with our own, to find the line between human arrogance and immature laziness. The Christian life is an adventure and a challenge; Jesus never said it would be easy; only that is ultimately rewarding beyond our wildest imagination!

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