I just read a blog that was all about how easy it is to feel sorry for yourself and otherwise be negative. I am one of the most prone people I know to really enjoy him some self-pity…and I hate it. So how would someone pull himself out? Is that even an option?
Let’s make a list.
- List Item 0- Life is good. Learn to enjoy the little things.
- List Item 1- Understand that life is big, and that my little problems are meager by comparison.
- List Item 2- Learn to leave things alone. God has a plan for our lives.
Am I supposed to feel better now? I only feel guilty for not feeling better.
I’m not naïve. I’d even say that the bulk of my life since high school has been a lesson in how to avoid the stupidity of my youth (or at least come off that way to the unwary stranger.) I am an intellectual. I look for the rational side to every well-intentioned but otherwise retarded explanation. I don’t fall for pop culture fads or diets, or ghost hunters who get a little too excited when exploring empty buildings, and my alien and crop circle loving days are long behind me. The point is, I’ve lived enough life and failed enough since I walked that stage in high school to know when something is amiss…and I started to take pride in how well I could avoid a good swindle.
So what do you do when God says, “hey, how about something good for a change?”
What? Something good? I have your Spirit living in me, what could be better, right? Street-smart Chase knows how to answer that question. Nice try, God. I’m too clever. I know that life is hard, and I know that “good” worldly things don’t just fall into your lap, Christ-follower or not. I know that the rest of my life will be drudgery and difficulty, and I am totally cool with that. In fact I almost welcome it because it fuels my fire against those false prophets who treat your name like the magic incantation it isn’t. I can’t be deceived. I won’t.
“Only you can satisfy.” I reply smugly.
“Good. Then let’s get you something you can enjoy.”
How does He do that? In only a few words God makes me falter on the foundation I had built for myself…again. I was sure God loved His people, and I was sure that the suffering his followers went through was actually proof of that, because only through fire can a blade be forged. But what good is a blade if it can’t also be a scalpel? The same blade that can hew stone must also be able to cut with enough precision to attack a cancer. And in the end, this process was never about the blade anyway, but the one wielding it. It’s the maker of the blade people flock to, or should.
And if this blade analogy is getting a little tiresome for the girls, then imagine I’m talking about a credit card…a reeeally sharp credit card. Okay I can’t actually think of another analogy; just stay with me.
Recently God asked me to make some pretty stupid calls. At least in my mind and in the mind of most people I knew. I felt like my faith in this area would be represented in my enthusiasm, or reluctance, to follow through with His word. How much did I actually trust Him? Was it enough to look the complete fool in the eyes of a world that already didn’t think too highly of me? And then if I wasn’t, could I actually believe in the same God I felt had become more and more real in my life since I made that first decision to relinquish my will to him so long ago? The answer was no. If I didn’t believe God now, I couldn’t believe in the same God later.
The God I believed in was one of intensity and grace. Mercy and justice. He was real, and not merely an icon people put their “trust” in. He was alive.
The answer to the question I asked earlier about which man learned the meaning of Christmas (previous post for those of you now searching fruitlessly and with confused looks for when I mentioned anything close to three men at Christmas) is actually none of them. Yeah, trick question. None of those men learned the reality of God because none of the men got past the notion that the world didn’t revolve around them. All their concerns were rooted in the world. All their fears and even joys were wrapped up in what the world had done for them, and if God is real, He certainly isn’t about what his creation can do for his creation. God is about God, and although men don’t initially like that idea, I believe that this is actually the best news anyone could hear. Because when God is about Himself, He sends his Son.
So why is this important? Why bring up the fairly worthless parable about the three men at Christmas again?
Because God taught me something, at a rundown motel in Marlin, Texas, about what it meant to give up everything and follow Him.