Regular readers of the humble ramblings know that the morning walk is my time to muse. Today an iPod tune and C.S.Lewis quote occupied much of the usually dormant gray matter. The song was from legend Bob Dylan and you likely know the words…
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
A great song with a sad message. For many people their answers are blowing in the wind. Their lives bounce from one failed philosophy to another. Check the best selling non-fiction list for the last several years and you will see how common the “flavor of the month” answer to life has become. People are desperately searching for something to fill the emptiness that success and acquiring stuff cannot. Christians believe they have found the answer to that search. That answer is not blowing in the wind but is found instead in the living Word of God. That doesn’t mean I can answer some of the questions that Dylan poses but I can answer the questions that haunt me. Why I am here? What is my significance? What is my destiny? That led me to think about why so many followers of Christ are frustrated and unhappy despite the incredible message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is where Mr.Lewis came into the cranium. A quote came to mind about how easily we settle for the familiar in our walk with Jesus instead of daring to believe the supernatural. You may have heard this thought from Lewis.
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Indeed we are. I have spent far too many years being too easily pleased on my journey. I want to trust God and believe He has a spiritual holiday at the sea waiting for me. That means trusting the character of God when I feel like my circumstances are overwhelming. Abram (Abraham) looked at his circumstances when God promised him a son and told him that his descendants would be countless. Abram was older than Larry King. His wife was several decades past menopause. Abram did exactly what I do when I face a really tough situation by jumping in with some ideas for how God could make this work. Abram suggested the son could be born in his house instead of from his seed. But God said that was not the plan. The heir would come from him. So Abram (Abraham) looked at the circumstances and then he looked at the character, faithfulness and power of his God. And he believed. For that simple choice God did the most amazing thing. For simply believing “He (God) reckoned it to him (Abram) as righteousness.” Abraham was declared righteous not for his actions but for his faith and trust. That is the starting point for me in dreaming and believing that God has great things ahead. Most of us who are self-sufficient would much rather be getting dirty making the mud pies than having to be patient and trust God. But Abraham was declared righteous not by his actions but by his faith. He didn’t know how God was going to do it. He simply believed that He would. And God was pleased not by his gifts, talent, sacrifices or even obedience. God was pleased by his belief.
Seems too easy to be true. Surely I must have to do more that that to merit God’s favor. The amazing answer is no. When you believe and trust in God’s character and faithfulness good things will happen. It has been true since the beginning. And it is true today.