Monday, January 12, 2015

My Shame in Trusting God

Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Recently I have experienced much private travail in my life. I have personal issues that burden my soul, I have professional pressures that prod at my being day and night; I am facing changes at the church I pastor where I am being asked (no informed) that I have to readjust my lifestyle b/c they cannot pay me what they had been able to in the past...and then there are many other areas of my frail and fragile life that I feel are leading me down a pathway of fear and doubt.

How can this happen to me? I have been faithful! I have been obedient! God your Word says when we honor you that you will in turn honor us. Now I don't honor you in that manner where I 'expect' honor from you, but I do proclaim the promise of your word.

This has been my prayer over the past 3-6 months. I have seen all the things that I believed were markers of success in my ministry wither and disappear. I have seen all the outward roadsigns that we measure success by simply vanish before my eyes. I have remained faithful to His calling, I have not abandoned my post of service. And there is a voice in my head that is telling me that I am a fool! The volume of this voice is growing exponentially by the day. This voice tells me I am a fool to remain faithful to a God who will let me go through such travail. This voice promises that there are greener pastures and abundant fruit in other avenues of life. This voice is one that I want to silence but find my heart yearning to not only hear it but to listen and act upon it... It is telling me that I should be ashamed because I am acting like a fool.

Now I don't know if YOU have ever dealt with this situation in your life, but it is a real issue with many people. It is an issue that brings us to what Henry Blackaby calls a Crisis of Faith. This 'crisis of faith' is when one questions the very path they are on... I have been doing that!

But in this passage today... a passage from a man who's life was EPITOME of a crisis of faith...Jeremiah. This man was called by God to be the harbinger of awful news, and he faithfully preached God's message to the people of Israel. But He was never 'successful' in his own eyes, he only knew he must remain faithful. He said the message inside him would consume him if he did not preach it... "a fire in my bones" He was a man who many may have looked at and saw a foolish man with an impossible task and they may have told him, man what are you doing? Why do you continue to do this?

However, what I have found is that even in the midst of this voice resonating in my heart and soul... even though its volume seems to drowned out everything of worth from God's Word... I will still have moments of true and pure clarity with God. Moments when it is like God himself is speaking to me through His word. Moments when God's Word reaches into my very soul and comforts my raging and conflicted spirit... This morning was such a moment! I believe this verse from Jeremiah was also such a moment for himself...

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord!"

"Blessed is the man whose trust is IN the Lord!"

"Having that trust is like a tree planted by water... does not fear when trouble comes... not anxious when situation seems hopeless...:

All of these verses reveal a man who is faithful and obedient during all seasons. A man who is willing to trust in God... and allow his trust in God guide his decisions and actions!

However, the final phrase of v8 is the one that hit ME the hardest, "...for it does NOT cease to bear fruit!"

Oh Lord forgive me, I have so often failed you in this area. I have allowed fear and anxiety to rule in my heart to the point where my walk with you was NOT obedient and my focus was NOT on bearing fruit for your kingdom... THAT is not honoring you...THAT is pitying me. God forgive me for my self pity and my self focus and help me to see you as Jeremiah saw you... as that source of life that would feed and strengthen him no matter the situation around him! God you are an unending source of life and no matter what is going on around me, no matter the situation or circumstance I will not fear or allow anxiety to rule in my heart... but my trust will be in YOU!

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