Friday, June 26, 2009

Simple but Difficult

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid,
which is Jesus Christ" 1Corinthians 3:11

Why do we continually try to figure a way around the obvious, difficult task of life? The recipe for a successful life is laid out in the Bible very clearly and very simply. A Christian does not have to remember much, does not have to ponder much as far as the basic course of his life. The strategy is simple. But it is difficult.

Men are asked to lay down their desires, their aggression, their vengeful hearts, their walls of protection surrounding their hearts. They are asked to trust in a God that cannot be seen or heard by normal means, and believe in events from two thousand years ago that sound today like fairy tales. They are asked to love and be loved, which may be the most difficult of all.

But to those brave enough to try, they find peace. They find solace in a busy world and a rest for the spirit and the mind not to be found anywhere else.

I have a very active mind, one that will keep me awake at night, and drive me to distraction by day. I am constantly caught up in what the world is doing, curiosity may have killed the cat, and it may kill me yet.

I accepted Christ only a few years back. I had been researching religion and faith in a self-study fashion for some years and my mind was tickled with a fascination with the Passion of Christ. Not the movie, per se, but the event (as this prediliction pre-dated Mel Gibson's movie). I was struck by the extraordinary detail and color of the accounts written in a piece of fiction called "Master and Margarita" by Mikail Bulgakov. I was haunted by the description. I had read some pseudo-scholarly works questioning whether Jesus really ever existed, whether He was ever supposed to be God, claiming that He never claimed to be God, etc., etc. One fairly intellectual-seeming work even laid out a case that His body was never found because it was probably thrown down the hill with the rest and the wild dogs carried away His bones.

But here was this vibrant story of the Passion. I thought to myself "how could anyone write this if some scholarly people don't even think He existed for real?" As I read more and more, the philosophical angle came into play. Logic kicked in and there was no answer for the question, "who was Jesus?"

Who was Jesus? Was He God, or man? Was he a wise dude, and nice philanthropist, a motivational speaker? The only answer that fits all of the facts that we know is that He is and was who He said He was, "I AM".

Not long after I accepted Christ intellectually, I did so vocally to the pastor of my current church. Once I accepted Christ, He didn't take long to test me. All that was good was threatened and pieces of my life started crumbling around me. Inexplicably, just when I thought that it would all end and I would break, there would be a respite. A calm in the storm around me. It was here that I met Jesus personally. This happened over and over again, giving me rest just long enough. I could feel Him working on me in the depths of my heart, digging out some very painful stuff and replacing it with love. It never could have happened if I didn't go through all of that stuff and be so overwhelmed that I came to the end of myself. I had nothing left. At that moment, I would say a prayer, and He would be there.

You see He is rest.

As a man, my inner desire is that of Conan; "To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentations of the women" We are all easily stirred to anger and fear, and we guard our hearts and harden them to love. We are tasked by this world to do the dirty work of the world and there is no place for soft hearts and weak minds. We want to dominate those around us and have others do our bidding. We find attractive displays and promises of power. It is the short cut to solving problems. More power.

Psalm 46 speaks directly to this;

"Come behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the
earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow
and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving
and know that I am God."

And it tells us to settle those thoughts. Cease striving. Be still. Rest. The God that can create the universe can do everything. You do not need to agitate your mind. You do not need to worry. Be at peace.

Isn't that what we all desire down deep? When was the last time you could truly relax, without a care in the world? Have you ever truly experienced that? I think that promise is one of the most alluring promises of God. Adam cursed us to toil in the earth and so toil me must, and in that toil we find a yearning for the ease and comfort of the rest in the Lord that we were created to enjoy.

Why can't we trust in Him more? Why can't we lay aside our troubles? Why do we get distracted so easily that we lose sight of the important things and succumb to sin and fear? May you burn the chariots, Lord and set our minds at rest.

Jesus calls to us,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you
rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble
in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is
easy, and my burden is light." Matt 11:29

Jesus, my mind is astir tonight. Give me rest. Let me be still.


  1. I love the contrast between Conan and Psalm 46. Who wouldn't identify with this conflict? Downright lyrical at times here, brother Dave...

  2. Thank you brother Tom. We need to get together again over that elixir that Franklin referred to as proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.