The world would be a silly place if people did not believe and trust in the systems and values of man. We try to improve ourselves to get the best job that we want that also hopefully has the best salary. We want the best salary so we can buy things that add to our security; a car, a house, and a retirement fund. Having money for vacations is also good, as well as for as many "toys" as we can buy. A few good friends, a spouse to share it with, as well as a couple of children would round it off very nicely. Then we will live our life with as much enjoyment as we can until it all ends; we are buried and soon become a distant memory to some grandchildren until there is no one to remember that we even lived.
It is not always as pleasant as that. Sometimes, in order to get what we want, we end up making some enemies. It isn't always possible to be friends with everyone and sometimes families fall out with each other. There is a lot of competition out there so sometimes we have to play hardball. Relationships aren't always easy and sometimes we have to look out for ourself first because that's just the way it is. We also learn that life can be unfair at times and we don't get what we deserve. Some people end up dying alone, with no money or toys, with no one to remember them beyond this generation. Their security was in themselves and they discovered there wasn't much security there. This passage struck me last night as a very sad passage:
“Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!” (Psalm 52:7)
Hopefully, as a disciple of Jesus, you have a different system of values, but it is hard to be sure of that in this world today. Many disciples have fallen into the same trap of seeking security in shifting sand. They don't mean to and they certainly did not set out to live in this manner but it is a trap that we easily fall into. We are human, we like comfort and we seek security in the things we see. A car is a solid thing, as is a house. It is easier to sleep at night with a healthy bank account. Once we have these things we do not want to lose them and keeping them comes at a price. But ask yourself, at the end of your life, what value will any of it have for you?
We can go even further with it. We do not have to ask what value these things will have at the end of our life; we can ask what security do they provide us now? If we are willing to set aside the notions of this world for a moment and consider how fragile everything is in life, I think we could better appreciate how truly insecure the system of man is. Our car can be lost in an accident or even stolen. Our house can be lost in a fire or even repossessed by the bank. Our job could disappear for any number of reasons. Our spouse could walk away, our children could disown us and our health fail us. Everything that we know and rely on can change in the blink of an eye. The world has discovered this in the last few years. We, as disciples of Jesus, should understand the frailty of man. Jesus taught:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
I do not believe that we appreciate the truth of this passage until we face our first true crisis, when we lose something of great value to us, something we relied upon. It is in such times that we realize that the only true stronghold in our life is Jesus. We may appreciate the blessings of a home, of family and friends but they are not our strength, they are part of God's strength in our lives. As disciples we are learning that our security must be found in our relationship with Jesus Christ because he is the only one who is not part of the shifting sand of our lives:
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
The Apostle Paul discovered the beauty behind this truth:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
To our shame, even the psalmist from earlier knew the truth of this, and he didn't have the advantage of Jesus:
But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)
I guess that is the simple matter of it, what are we trusting in? It may take you some soul searching to answer that question if it is possible to answer outside of a crisis. Sometimes we believe we are trusting God's unfailing love when in truth we are trusting our good works and bank account. Even if we do not have a great bank account we may be relying on someone for strength instead of Jesus. But everything and everyone in our life is shifting sand. Our only hope is Jesus Christ, who is the rock beneath our feet and the stronghold to whom we run.
This is the reason that the disciples of Jesus Christ have nothing to fear because nothing can rob him from us. He has given us many promises to be our deliverer. protector, strength, hope and future, but we have to trust in his unfailing love. We have to trust and rely in him. We have to stop struggling to survive; stop trying to find our own path of salvation; stop trying to manipulate life, and wait for the Lord to rescue and deliver us. He is our hope and our strength; everything else is just shifting sand in the storms of life.
never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)