Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
How blessed we are in the United States to have access to fine education, outstanding healthcare, comfortable housing (including indoor plumbing and electricity), adequate to excellent infrastructure, and blessings many other people only dream about. Of course, these things are not free, but our fathers taught us that hard work and a good attitude would take us a long way.
And so that’s the mindset most of us grow up with in our country. Try hard enough, work hard enough, and you’ll succeed at getting what you want. Until we don’t. When our circumstances become difficult beyond our abilities to solve (or beyond our ability to buy solutions), we become desperate. And I’m talking about Christians. In many instances, we behave just like pagans when we’re pushed to the wall.
I watch while desperation pushes us to every imaginable answer available and even beyond. We try this and then that. We read this author and that one. We pray this prayer and then that one. I used to (pridefully) be confident of God’s answers to my prayers (emphasis on my will). It took years before I sincerely embraced “thy will be done” (the prayer that is always answered). I believed that doing all the right things—tithing, sacrificial giving, good deeds, right living, going to church and Bible studies, even the extremes of fasting and self denial—was like making deposits in a heavenly account. These were all enriching my standing in heaven so that when I prayed, my will was done.
Desperation, our friend, eventually depletes that “account” and brings us right to the foot of the cross where we say, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to the cross I cling.” The stark reality of our total dependence on God’s grace and mercy becomes true for us. As we sink into the stormy waves, we are ready to abandon all pretense and cry out to Jesus, “Lord save me,” and we discover that he is waiting for us. Jesus lifts us up to himself, and nothing else matters.
It’s in him that we find his security, his healing, his peace, his comfort, everything we will ever want or need. When at the very central heart of our lives we begin abiding in him, everything else comes into perspective. Everything is measured by eternity, and God is enough.
Are we willing to be stripped of everything but Jesus? Desperation can do that.
Father, thank you for gently and patiently moving us along in our journey so that the excess baggage no longer matters—we can discard its unnecessary weight. Thank you that you allow us to become desperate as we weigh temporal things against your Kingdom. Please keep up the process. The results are heavenly. AMEN.