God is Best Placed to Tell us What’s Wrong

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10

“Worldly sorrow brings regret” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:5-6

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Waking up Slowly.jpg
A new day dawns on the approach to our  school. The roads are clear and the weather is fine.

God, I’m so bored of looking at what’s wrong with me and hoping to fix it. I can’t seem to fix any of it!

I once heard Bill Johnson recall the time when he was fed up with getting discouraged and depressed with his own introspection. He told God one day that he wasn’t going to look inwards anymore and be constantly trying to fix himself. If there was anything he needed to pay attention to, go ahead and let me know and he would give it attention: until then, he was going to assume he’s doing fine.

That’s a stunning thought to me.

Lately a lot of music I’ve stumbled upon seems to share the theme of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’. I had wondered if God was telling me I was trying to fix people. Now I think maybe it was myself I was obsessed with fixing myself. 

What if God wants us to realise that it’s the enemy’s nature to accuse, and it’s our job not to agree with him? It’s the enemy’s nature to be deceitful too, so if I’m constantly looking down and trying to address concerns that I assume are valid, I may be spending a whole lot of my leisure time (and perhaps some work time too) responding to the enemy’s agenda. Maybe that’s why I can often feel like I’m not getting anywhere, that I’m full of problems (which dangerously leads to comparison with others). And if that is what my days are like, and days turn into weeks, this will just carry on my whole life, until I decide I want something different.

To change my life I need to change my thoughts. I’ve been trying it that way for 30-odd years; maybe it’s time to admit it’s not working.

How to change? Firstly, not to anxiously work out what’s wrong with my current pattern in order to spot the failure and fix it. This is part of the problem. It doesn’t work like that.

The only way we get creativity into a system is to open it up to something new. God is the source of creation and love. Love is the only force in the universe that creates something out of nothing. God creates and re-creates. He is the one who can offer an alternative.

So, Father, I want to do something different today. Instead of being led around by the nose worrying about first one and then another anxious thought, I’m going to practise thankfulness. I can never get over how quickly one’s mood changes when one starts to list things that are lovely, uplifting, or for which one is thankful. There’s a reason God gave us the commands he did. He knows how he made us.

Once we start with thankfulness, we are tipping our heads up to open our mouths for God to fill them with good things.

I tried it and it helped. Then I wrote a resume, and applied for a volunteer position. Where did that come from?

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Sing O Earth! Psalm 98

Psalm 98 (…”Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
 make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King…”)

One of the delights of writing a blog is that people stumble across it from all over the world (hey Brazilian readers!)  I don’t know anything about you but there you are. A third of us are Christian, and we encircle this beautiful planet of ours, singing his praises. There’s never a moment of the day when God’s not hearing one of us cry, one of us shout for joy, one of us give birth, one of us giggle.

I guess I was thinking about this recently in reading this article from the Guardian last Saturday in which Canadian astronaut Cmdr Chris Hadfield describes what it’s like to recognise places on earth as they passed the window.

We’re not quite sure what happened at our service on Sunday night…I guess it was God…but it was the most beautiful, wonderful time with each other, enjoying the God we worship together. Those times are so precious. In our Anglican church it was the first Sunday in Advent, which is an aromatic mixture of anticipating Christmas, and quiet, holy reflection on how much we need someone to rescue us.

Our world needs a rescuer. I love the end-of-the-year reviews on our media, but I’m sure this year will have a particularly sober flavour as we think of ISIS, Boko Haram and the like. One thing though, I know the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He is the shepherd, the one who knows the end from the beginning.

And I just realised that doesn’t mean telling them apart (that wouldn’t make sense!) It means that he knows how it will all end.

God doesn’t just have a bird’s-eye view, he sees all the way from heaven. His perspective takes in all time and all space. While he weeps with those who weep, he knows he will be fully united with those who want to be with him. His joy has no bounds when he sees the kind people taking care of the injured, when he hears thousands of broken hearts crying out to him as they watch the news.

We mustn’t be disheartened or afraid. We have a God who does know, and he loves us. He knows the end from the beginning. He will have his way. Evil will not prosper in the end. In his mercy he allows us all to flourish and have second, third and 1,000th chances. He is worthy of all the praise we can give. He is worthy of the praise all of us can ever give.

I’ll be waking up in 6 hours or so to praise his name. Wherever you are, we share the same planet and I thank God for you.