Trying To Understand

 

understandI have tried to understand complicated positions before – if I don’t understand, I usually try to approach the position again from a different angle. I have tried to understand people who sharply disagree with me and then emotions pile into the situation and it’s gets really hard to understand and sort through the differentiating positions because our emotions often steals the spotlight.

Sometimes in the midst of pain, struggle and suffering, our viewpoint is skewed because we’re blinded by the struggle. We can’t think clearly or see clearly. Job was definitely struggling with perspective. He had seemingly lost all that mattered to him and he was pushing back on God for his losses. Another of his friends rebukes him very strong and firm with some strong truth about God. Check this out…

7 ‘Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

8 They are higher than the heavens above – what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below – what can you know?

9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

13 ‘Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,

14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,

15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear.

16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.

18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. (Job 11:7-9; 13-18 NIV)

I don’t claim to understand all that God does or all that He is. I have given my life to follow Him. I believe He is Who He says He is in His Word. I trust Him. I don’t always understand why He doesn’t stop some bad things from happening. I don’t understand why babies get sick and die when I know God could change the outcome. I don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people – but I still trust in Him. As I sort through my emotions and my perspective – I realize that it’s difficult to defend this broken and decadent world that I live in. God is not bound by physics or science. He is the Creator of both. His ways are higher than I can wrap my head around, so I will continue to trust Him even when I don’t understand Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Feelings

 

Young man suffering pain on his chest, isolated on whiteI often tell people that feelings are quite fickle. I can feel happy or sad in half a second from each other. I can feel angry. I can feel hurt. I can feel elated. I can feel frustrated. This list of “feelings” could get quite long. I do believe that most everyone has “feelings” and they are often very close to the surface in all our relationships. I’ve learned over the years that my feelings can’t always be trusted. I say that because there are times when it’s not about my feelings, but someone will say or do something that hurts my feelings. I also know that some folks say that love is a feeling. I believe love to be a decision – a choice. I understand the “ooey gooey feeling” that I feel when my wife or my children come around. I love them profoundly, but it’s a decision NOT just a feeling. I think in leading, I have to be very cautious about feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions are not very good predictors of truth; they sometimes skew the truth or mask the truth of the situation.

I found Gideon’s response to the angel of the Lord a bit alarming at first. I do believe Gideon to be a bit pragmatic & practical, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have handled this in a similar fashion. Check this out…

12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’

13 ‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, “Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?” But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.’

14 The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’

15 ‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’

16 The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.’ (Judges 6:12-16 NIV)

I believe Gideon was really testing the Lord out to make sure it was God calling and not a trap set by the people who were oppressing the Israelites. I also believe that Gideon was quite young and I see some wisdom in his response to the Lord. I really understand Gideons reluctance to simply jump in. Sometimes when someone jumps in early without counting the costs, the exit early because things got hard. I like it when someone does their fact finding or info gathering to vet the call rather than blindly follow their emotions (aka feelings).

As I’ve grown older in my faith, I believe I’ve learned to discern when the Lord is calling me to do something or go somewhere on His behalf. I also believe as I spend time with Him in His Word, He reveals things to me that “set up” a call that He’s placing upon me. I don’t intend to deny my feelings but I’m careful to not let them dictate my behavior constantly.

I’m thankful that the Lord is patient with Gideon’s questions and investigation of this call. I know first hand of God’s patience with me. He understands my emotional make up because He made this part of me too. The Lord is mighty to save and I’m learning that when He says jump, I say: How high?” I am learning to lean harder into my faith in the Lord then to lean on my feelings about everything.

Pressing On!

Dwayne