We struggle emotionally for a number of reasons. The reasons tend to fall under a larger category of lack of peace. Other people are not behaving as we hoped them to. God is not protecting as we understood Him to promise. We are unable to control our own emotions, as we understand the scriptures to mandate. The world is not living up to our expectations, and we need to find a way of bringing it into line. Our own behaviors may be at odds with our proclaimed beliefs and values. As gods of our little universe, we are failing. We want help in getting back on our thrones.
Christians are not immune to this type of thinking. In fact, some of us are masters at it. Having read the scriptures, we have a general grasp of how things should work, or so we think. Our expectations enhanced, we set off, only to encounter a world that is still broken and dysfunctional at every turn. And we are active participants in that world, right down to the core. The very fact that we want to sit in judgment of it proves the point. We so easily slide onto our thrones, gods of our own little worlds.
Even knowing this, I find my peace in peril on a regular basis. The realities of our culture at this time bring many into my office whose lives have no easy answers. Some people have lost everything: jobs, homes, relationships, now they are struggling to maintain their faith in a God who seems silent in their time of need. Unconsciously, I want to find the solution for them. I want to rescue them from their position of peril. I want to save them. Honestly, I want to be their savior. However, they already have One, far better than me. Moreover, even though it is not always clear either to the client or to me, He has them covered. He loves them far more than I do. He has their eternal best interest at heart, and He is weaving something of eternal value into their spirits through the insolvable problems that lie before us. At times, my role is not to solve the problems or to become the savior, but to keep pointing them back to Him.
How much peace do we forfeit because we forget who is God, and who is not? When we are encouraged to pray, it is not so that we can counsel or advise Him, it is so that we can pour out our hearts and find peace in the fact that He is God and we are not. When scripture exhorts us to be there for one another, it is not to become gods to one another.
We can encourage, comfort, even convict, but ultimately we cannot be the Holy Spirit to another. We cannot be God. I for one am glad for this.
Frequently, I write this note on a post-it and ask my client to place it where he will see it several times a day:
REMEMBER WHO GOD IS, AND STOP APPLYING FOR HIS JOB.
God put it another way:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
"Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome..." Nehemiah 4:14
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