Friday, July 6, 2018
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
1 Chronicles 16:8 – 10 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
I confess I go through times when issues weigh heavily on my heart and mind. My spirit becomes oppressed. I could be rejoicing instead, but sometimes pity feels good. For some very strange and totally unproductive reason, feeling down is captivating. I sometimes give in to the very real temptation to wallow rather than worship.
As I analyze why I do that, I conclude that wallowing is caused by one thing – taking control of outcomes. Many of the issues I deal with have the potential to end badly and hurt the cause of Christ and other people. Somehow, I have decided that I need to fix that. Maybe it’s pride that makes me think I can, or maybe it’s a desire for the sense of value I would get from doing it. Maybe I’m hoping for some appreciation. But the bottom line is that I hear the call of people for help, and determined that I don’t need to make the same call for help. What makes us think that we are the final connection in the human 911 emergency response system?
When there is an emergency, it’s great to know that help is as close as a call to 911. But the person who answers the call is not the responder who comes to help with your emergency. The 911 operator immediately calls on the appropriate response team that will be able to meet your need.
Many of us are in positions of being 911 operators for others. Ideally, all of us should recognize our privilege of serving in that capacity to the people of our church and community. But if the emergency response system is going to work correctly, all calls we receive must be immediately forwarded to the appropriate response team. There is one Team that can meet all the needs, and there are three members of that team – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they invite us to participate in the outcome, but only as an assistant who carries out their plan. They are completely in control and have never failed at a rescue attempt, when they are asked to take control of the outcome.
The problem is that we don’t ask the Trinity Response Team to take control. Imagine what it would be like to discover some evening that your house is on fire. You quickly gather up the family and move them outside to a safe location. You dial 911 and quickly tell the operator that your house is on fire. You become very frustrated as the operator begins to tell you about some of her past experiences at helping people in similar situations and why she is qualified to help you now.
She then proceeds to ask you a series of questions.
“Did you check your smoke alarms to make sure they are operating correctly?”
“Yes, their all screaming loudly!”
“Did you check for smoke?”
“You mean before or after I put a wet towel over my head and crawled to safety?”
“Did you unplug your electrical appliances?” “Did you shut off the gas supply to your house?” “Did you try to put the fire out?” “Is the fire really as bad as you think?” Was it really necessary to call 911?”
By now you are hopping mad, and you scream into the phone, “Look, lady, there are flames shooting out of my roof and I can see fire in every window. When will help arrive?”
But before she does anything else she asks you one more question: “Did you take time to reflect on what you may have done to cause the fire?” You throw the phone across the driveway and determine to never call 911 again because real help is never notified that they need to respond.
All my great intentions to help others and my previous experiences with help are nothing compared to the help we receive when we call the TRT. But every time I receive an emergency call, I tend to become the first responder, instead of just the operator who forwards calls to the TRT. It is very possible that the TRT will ask me to be involved in implementing a response plan, but it must be Their response plan and not mine. My need to solve the problem causes me to wallow in despair because I know my own limitations. But when I call on the name of the Lord, and cease from my wallowing and begin worshiping, I realize that He is the One who responds with wonderful acts and mighty deeds, and that He is control of all the outcomes.
The heavens do not rejoice that I am in control. The earth is not glad that I have been called. The nations do not rise up and praise my name as the one who reigns. I am simply the 911 operator who forwards calls to the One who does reign.
So, give thanks to the Lord, because no matter what the emergency, you have called on His name. No more wallowing in worry because we know our weaknesses. Let’s worship in wonder because we know His works.
Rejoice in the Lord! And again I say, REJOICE!