Thursday, August 8, 2013

Forget Not His Benefits

Who is your protector?

Who do you turn too when everything goes wrong? Who do you lean on for strength? Who listens to your complaints? From whom do you seek advice? Who or what is your rock? Your confidante? Your adviser?

Is it mom or dad? Maybe a teacher? An old friend? Perhaps a stranger? Maybe it is your own thoughts?

Perhaps it is your credit card that rescues you. Maybe a bank loans officer. A friend with deep pockets. A loving parent.

We would like to say it is Jesus. We would like to say it is our Father. We would like to say with David:

You, Lord God,
    are my protector.
    Rescue me and keep me safe
    from all who chase me.
Or else they will rip me apart
like lions
    attacking a victim,
    and no one will save me. (Psalm 7:1-2)

We should have this same realization, that without our Father we are lost. We should have this same realization, that he is the only one who can help us. We should know the promises he has made and his faithfulness to keep them. We should. But when we are facing those things that "chase" us, it is often easier to grasp something a little more tangible. But that doesn't stop our Father from rescuing us or providing for us.

The other day I was talking things over with Jesus in the shower. It is one of our common talking places. I was doing most of the talking. Well, more imploring. I was pointing out certain financial situations and the fact that I was powerless in the situation and needed his help. In the middle of my long discourse he interrupted me.

The interruption came more in the form of a clear realization than in a sentence. He pointed out how our Father was looking after those situations. Money from an unexpected source paid certain bills and a gift of $100 covered the babies birthday cake and present. How had I missed that? I had excepted the provision without thought and without pause in my complaints. The realization was quite the reproach and I quickly repented of my ungrateful heart.

That's when I realized I was losing my Kingdom eyes. God was overly active in my life and I was missing it. I was not able to see his hand whereas I had seen his hand on my life for years. Something had distracted me. Something had taken my eyes from the things above and fixed them on the things around me. The wonder of God was fading and I was losing my dependence.

Without God I am a lost soul on route to my destruction. With him, but without dependence on him, I am saved but making things so much harder on myself. I have to face every foe on my own, climb mountains that should leap at my command, find strength from where ever I can find it, provide my own provision, heal my diseases myself. Am I crazy? Why would I do that when my Father has promised to look after me? Why or how could I forget the benefits of being a child of my Father:

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)

This is why Jesus told us time and again to trust our Father with everything we need, to ask our Father for anything we need. But instead we run to our credit cards or seek out friends. Crazy!

We say we love God because he loves us but then we do not take advantage of his love, generosity, kindness and compassion. Do we not understand that it pleases him to respond to his children? It pleases him when we ask. It pleases him to pour out his blessings on us and often he does it whether we are paying attention or not. But then we become  ungrateful kids, and we all know what we think of ungrateful kids.

I am repenting of my stupidity right here and right now. I refuse to forget about all his benefits. He intended us to have a relationship of trust, to have a carefree attitude, to be possessed by love, joy and peace. The only way I don't have these things is when I am looking for another provider, another protector. But I am not doing that any more. I am satisfied with my God because he is my God. I will trust him, lean on him, run to him, hide beneath his wing, embrace him in the dark and delight in all the good things he has for me. He is faithful. He is my God.

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