Thursday, September 8, 2011

the truth of it is I'm scared

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy... But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven."  
Matthew 6:19-20

"No one can serve two masters."  
Matthew 6:24

 "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone instead?"
Matthew 7:9

"You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So it is with you.  Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
John 16:20-22

"Consider it pure joy, brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."
James 1:2-4

It seems to be everywhere these days.

Hurricane Irene.
Tropical Storm Lee.
Wildfires in Texas.
Flooding.  Earthquakes.  Tsunamis.

It's easy to gloss over these news items with a mere sigh.  "That's so sad," we might think as we read about people losing their homes -- their lives.  But we manage to stay secure in our own homes.  It hasn't happened to us, and it doesn't seem likely to.

But I can't shirk these tragic realities.   People lost their homes.  And in some cases, their families.
And this doesn't even begin to cover tragedies worldwide, like in Haiti and Japan.

The realities make me think hard about what I'm seeking after.  Because to be honest, I dream of having a home.  I know that may come as a surprise as I rail against The American Dream and currently live in a different type of home, but it's true.  Deep down, I pray for a home to call our own.  A place to settle down in, for years to come.  Stability.  Comfort.  Yes, I do want these things.

And I don't think it's bad to want them, or even pray for them.  But when I read about these homes being destroyed, I'm reminded that we cannot put our hope and trust in our homes.  Or our bank accounts.  Or any of those things we are told will bring us ultimate happiness.  What happens when -- just like that -- they are gone?

It scares me.  It scares me because I don't know how strong I would be if we finally bought a home and then it was destroyed.  I hope that I would be confident in the Lord's provision and faithfulness, but I think it would be really hard for me.  And there's also a part of me inside that is afraid to ask for good things -- like if I ask God for a home of our own, that somehow my prayer will have the opposite effect and He will instead ask me to live in community for the rest of my life.  Or maybe He would give us a home and then take it away in a hurricane.

I know this isn't Biblical.  I also know from experience that this is not the character of our God.  But sometimes there are trials we must face that will bring blessings.  I think of Job.  I think of James 1.  I think of how, unlike The American Dream, Jesus promises steadfastness and hope and complete love, but he does not promise happiness.

And in this culture, that's tough to swallow, isn't it?  
In this person -- in my own person -- that's tough to swallow.  
Because the reality is that I want happiness and comfort and The American Dream.  And I want others to have it too.  I don't want people to be homeless and starving and babies to be crying because they don't have a warm blanket and are surrounded by rain.

But I know in my own life, I need to hold on to the things around me with a very loose grip.
And sometimes I find that very difficult to do.


Remember that passage about the rich man, the camel, and the eye of a needle?  


Lord, help me store up treasures in heaven.
And to trust and to trust and to trust.

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