Happy Hump Day!
It is finally the middle of the week, just halfway more to go!
This week especially, I've been feeling really sluggish. I've been trying to avoid catching a cold, so I've been diligently taking my Vitamin C, working out, drinking tea, and simply refusing to get sick. My throat has been feeling funny for a couple weeks, and I'd get a headache every now and then, but I thought I was going to beat it! Sadly, it defeated my immune system, and took hold of me the moment I had a bit of rest time. I think it's funny how everything seems fine when we're trapped in the heavy bustle of life, but once things settle down, that is when everything begins to fall apart.
Of course, both labouring and resting are biblical and good, but in what sense? The balance of chaos and serenity is a recurring theme within the bible: Elijah heard God's whisper through the super-chaos of all elements, Jesus rebuked the sea to calm it down, Jonah jumped into the sea and the storm stopped raging, etc.etc.
Today, I wanted to focus on
"Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress." - Psalm 107:6, 13, 28
Yes, we are back on Psalms for this week, I hope you don't mind. As you can tell, this verse is repeated 3 times in this Psalm, which to any literature-lover means we've struck a goldmine for analysis.
All three times that this verse comes up, it is after an explanation of what the men did before turning to God. In the first stanza, the people had walked around the desert, and found nowhere to live. In the second stanza, the people had committed crimes, and were locked up, and were set to do hard work. In the third stanza, they did not treat their bodies well, and drove themselves to near death. After all of these actions and tribulations, they asked for God's help, and He led them to a better place in their lives.
There is something very human about wanting to take control of our own circumstances and running away from the works that God wants us to do. Just look at Jonah! Whether it is putting our faith in ourselves, an act of rebellion, or lack of faith, we put ourselves through a lot of unnecessary toil. Pain, discontentment, fear, all all of these "bad" things are not from God. God does not associate himself with sin, and therefore does not create these emotions that are manifestations of sin. The text is very clear on how to get away from these turbulent times: "They cried out to the LORD... and He brought them out of their distress".
For me personally, I find it really easy to get comfortable with the bustle of things. It's horrible, and even downright sinful. Work is easily one of my biggest idols, and I find myself being consumed with wanting to meet deadlines, being anxious to finish things, etc. And sometimes, it can feel like a good thing, because it's helping others, and it is bringing in money, and it makes me feel accomplished. But the truth is: I can only help with what God provides me with. Time on earth is not limitless, and it's important to be intentional with what we spend our time doing, and why we do things. A sense of accomplishment/importance/pride is nice to have, but ultimately, the most important thing is to have a sense of where God is in my life. If He is not all-consuming in my life, then He is not the center of it. Sometimes sin doesn't "feel" like sin, but it is. And this bout of sickness is a good reminder that I haven't had rest in the Lord in a while.... My labour hasn't gone unnoticed, but I forgot to put Him in the center of it.
How has God been guiding you and teaching you these days? The cold seems pretty popular, and quite a few people around me have been coughing and sniffling. I hope all of you are safe from the virus!