Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life Is Complicated But Our Response Is Simple

Why do we complicate things? Sometimes I look at my life or the lives of others and see the knots we tie ourselves in over matters that we have very little control over. Other times we complicate simple things to the point where we lose control over those matters. It's mean but sometimes this thought pops up: Keep it simple stupid. Lose the word stupid and perhaps add straightforward and you will have the message for this generation. Simplicity is always the best way to go.

Sometimes life does not present itself as simple with all its complications, problems, headaches and unexpected events. No one plans a car accident. No one plans disease. No one plans a house fire. No one plans heartache. No one plans failure. None of us welcomes loss with open arms. Life can be one big disaster.

We can't do anything about what we have no control over but there is always one thing we can control: our response to it. Life may be complicated but our response to it can be simple.

Trust God.
Hope in Jesus.
Love everyone.
Push your faith forward.

We have to accept that we are limited. There are some things that are beyond us. They are beyond our ability to fix. They are beyond our ability to understand. If we want a simple response to the complications of life we have to see things like the psalmist:

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
(Psalm 131:1)

It is true that we have the mind of Jesus so that we are able to understand spiritual matters beyond the understanding of those without Jesus, but it does not mean that we will understand what God is always doing. Yet we do know that it is God who is always doing it. We have the mind of Christ so that we can trust, knowing our Father has everything well in hand. When we don't understand we trust, and that takes a vibrant faith.


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
(Isaiah 55:8)

It takes humility like the psalmist's to finally come to accept our place in the Kingdom. We are not God. Having accepted that some things are beyond his understanding, the psalmist controls his response and trusts:

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
   like a weaned child with its mother,
   like a weaned child is my soul within me.
(Psalm 131:2)

There are several things about a weaned child:

- we have been told to become like children in our faith
- such a young child is still dependent on his mother
- life is simple for such a child
- during weaning the child is selfish, crying, demanding what it wants
- after he is weaned, the child is content and prepared for more mature food

Being faced with the complications of life the psalmist took action. He humbled himself and forced his soul to enter a place of calm and trust. Instead of allowing fear, worry, doubt and anxiety control his response he stilled and quieted his soul. "Be still and know that I am God." He brought himself in line with God so that peace could freely flow through him. The situation did not change immediately but his response to it did. He quieted himself and became like a weaned child, trusting. hoping, instead of wrestling for control over it.

Life can be complicated but our response is simple: faith, hope and love. The final words of the psalm should ring clear and true through the complications of our life:

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
   both now and forevermore.
(Psalm 131:3)

In all of life we only have one hope and his name is Jesus. May his peace be renewed in you today.

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