I was on the last hour of a boring, four-hour drive when I passed one of those stores that sell everything: gas, Chinese food, Pepto Bismo, tax preparation services, and on the reader board they proudly announced:
“We have worms for fishing!”
Unusual for an establishment like this, they weren’t missing any letters, so it didn’t look like,
“W hav wrms 4 fing!”
or worse, just,
“We have worms!” although the top sentence, “We have worms” caught one’s eye before the bottom two words, “for fishing,” and given the reading speed of many people these days, it would be understandable if they chose to give the Chinese food a pass this time.
You need all five words to make sense of the sentence.
In other words, when you only have access to three of the words, but Someone else has all five, it’s a good idea to depend upon that Someone’s wisdom more than your own: walk by faith, not by sight.
You’re not God, and you don’t know, or control, everything. Now most people — outside of certain politicians, media moguls, global financiers, and movie stars — are vaguely aware of this, but this doesn’t stop us from taking the information that we do have — much of which is deliberately misleading (especially if you rely upon corporate media news or government press releases), frequently wrong, and always incomplete — and using it to predict the immediate, and distant, future.
The Future Looks Bleak
We hate our job, we’ve put out resumes, but all we can see is that, for the next 25 years, we’ll be slogging away in our despicable cubicle. Unless, of course, we get downsized, which we probably will.
So we’ll go bankrupt. And hungry. And be bereft of all goodness and joy until we die, slowly, in the streets on a cold January day. God doesn’t come into the picture because He’s obviously busy running other people’s lives — more productively, it looks like, than ours.
All we know is that We Have Worms, and it’s not good.
God, however, is never missing any letters for the reader board, and He is fully aware, although we are not, that these are earthworms, not parasites.
Temporary versus Eternal
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4: 16 – 18. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Like you, I caught that “light and momentary troubles” part and thought, “Are you KIDDING? What I’m going through is no JOKE!”
No, my friend, it isn’t. What you are going through is difficult and agonizing, but it is 1) not eternal and 2) not the whole picture. You are operating with only three words of a five-word sentence, and the missing two words change everything.
One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29: 11:
Hope, and a Future — non Political-Style
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
It’s a beautiful promise, but it doesn’t end there:
“‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.'”
Life is more than our struggles and problems, although some days it doesn’t feel that way, and though our focus is understandably the answer to our pressing dilemma, God doesn’t limit Himself, or us, to that perspective.
“. . . call upon me in the day of trouble,” he invites us in Psalm 50: 15, “I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
We can honor Him because He is worthy of being honored: because He knows everything, possesses every letter for the reader board, and is the light we need to walk through the darkness. As smart as we are, we can’t operate efficiently on insufficient knowledge, but when we are a child of God, we don’t have to — we just need to follow, by faith, the Person who has all the answers.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage all of us who are believers and seekers to approach Christ directly and ask Him to teach us, gently and patiently, the way He taught His disciples.
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