Lately I feel like a penguin in the Sahara, a wild cheetah in the tundra, a beaver in a tree top, a fish out of water. Actually, as I sit here next to Sarah Lovey Dovey III (Em’s third Beta fish), I know she wouldn’t last long, like we’re talking a minute or so, without water. She’s not like those African Lungfish that burrow in the mud for months at a time during the dry season and live off very little oxygen until the rainy season returns.
I don’t think we were meant to do that either. Survive, that is. I mean, if we were created just to survive as followers of Christ, then we would be expected to live daily off word of mouth from Jesus’ day. Have you ever played ‘telephone’?! If that were the case, we’d be worshiping an 8 armed goddess, sacrificing fruit and wearing underwear on our heads! We would not have been given, one, the Holy Spirit, or two, the very words of God in the bible if we were called merely to survive. I’m nauseous to think how many times in my life I have tried to live off God’s word from years, months, even days past, not seeking Him daily for ‘food and drink’.
I guess the way I’ve been feeling ‘out of water’ or out of my element is that I, along with everyone else in America, am living with constant bombardment from the media (don’t get me started…$%^&#$%^) with messages that “we are in a serious financial crisis…take care of your own…pinch pennies, etc. etc.” My surroundings do not define me. My circumstances are just that…circumstances. What impact they have on eternity is up to how much I allow it to control my thoughts and reactions. We’d have to literally be an African Lungfish living in the ground to miss that times are tough financially. This isn’t rocket science. The financial sitch in the U.S. isn’t getting better any time soon. Believe me, I have debated taking ‘Monopoly’ or ‘LIFE’ money with me on my next trip to the grocery store since it will have about the same worth as our dollar with the pending inflation plan. But, I won’t, just in case that’s illegal…(But seriously, wouldn’t it be fun to go to the grocery store, drop a $100,000 golden rod paper bill on the counter and say, “Pay for the groceries of every one in the store today!”)
Anyway, the point is, it doesn’t matter! The world can be literally falling apart around us, the whole world or our own world in which we live. But, when we have God at the center of our lives, standing on His word, trusting He’s not a man/human that He’ll fail us, the storms will come but they won’t destroy us. They may rage, but not overtake us. We can trust that He knows what He’s doing and that He doesn’t live according to American politics or economics (Thank you, LORD!), and as a result, when those storms come, we can still have hope.
The part for me is, I don’t want to ‘live’ being directed by the ebbs and flows of our economy, political agendas, societal urgings. Media is not the boss of me! I want to truly LIVE, in OPPOSITE WORLD! God’s world…His agenda, His direction… when I have money in my wallet (which is rarely since Jason always sniffs it out…) and He says to give it away, I want to do it and trust Him that it’s just part of a bigger picture that He sees, whether I do or not. I may think I needed that cash but obviously someone will always, ALWAYS need it more. And when I have a need, He’ll provide for me. Although, He knows what I need more than I do…opposite world. And, quite frankly, what is a need vs. a want, anymore?
Jesus’ words are still, and always will be, the thing in our lives that separates our selfishness from living a life led by His Spirit. If we view it in light of ‘Opposite World’…that just maybe God works differently than we do and we need to stop expecting Him to think like limited humans who function off 10% of their brains…His words make so much more sense! *(Below are some scriptures the Lord is encouraging my heart with. I pray they encourage yours, as well. The blue thoughts below each are either things that have run through my mind at one point, or may be running through yours…)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (But Lord, I can’t see Heaven…how do I know it’s real? And what is a treasure if it’s not riches and gold? And, besides, I’ve worked hard for all of this and deserve it…)
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (But Lord, my choices seem right to me…according to what the world thinks is right and wrong…LORD, please help me to see with Your eyes, with light that floods my dark, hidden places!)
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (But Lord, this isn’t what a lot of preachers have told me or continue to preach to their congregations…they have said I can have it all! It doesn’t seem to be working…I want more! Well, I want more of You, of course, but I’m not asking for much, just a little cushion to make life a little easier…)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (But Lord, what do You mean I can’t eat out every night?! And if I don’t work out every single day for at least an hour then I won’t be able to eat extra dessert! Well, at least my walk-in-closet isn’t as big as her walk-in-closet…But Lord, if I don’t worry then bad things will happen and everything will be out of my control!)
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Wait a minute! You know what I need?! Surely I know what I need better than You do…I mean, You’re really busy with running the Universe and all, You couldn’t possibly care about my day to day needs! I don’t want to bug You with the details…I’ll handle them myself…)
Just maybe God is smarter than us. Just maybe, even though everything feels like chaos around us, He still holds the world in His hands and has a plan, and that plan is good. Just maybe, and I’m going out on a limb here, that if we lose our lives we’ll find them…if we trust an unseen God, we’ll see our lives radically change…if we give out of our need, we’ll be the richest people to walk the earth. But that only works in ‘Opposite World’, not the ‘world’ in which we live. Want to go there?!