Following Christ is like going up the down escalator. You can make progress with a focused effort, but if you stop to look around at all, worldly cares and the desires of the flesh carry you in the wrong direction. The world is constantly pulling on you. The only way up is to look at the Savior and follow His steps. At church last Sunday, we were singing, “Christ is enough for me. . .” Those words have always been more of a prayer for me than a declaration; I am never sure that I actually feel that way in my heart. Lord, help me to feel satisfied and content; be enough for me! Earlier in the service, I was looking around and I saw a young woman with a prominent, pregnant belly. The desire for something more in my life swelled in my heart and choked me up. Why can’t I be content with all the blessings I have? Why do I still grieve these lost dreams?
For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?
It is difficult for me to see that having what I want would not make me feel more complete. This world is full of sin, and it is only through Jesus Christ that I can have any peace or contentment. On Sunday, I had to stop my train of thought before it led to me have a tantrum with God. I began to fear that I am just like the Israelites in the wilderness, questioning God’s provision for me. Their lack of faith led to grumbling against God and rebellion against His plan. I began to evaluate whether I was acting like that “faithless generation.” I decided I should not dismiss this thought because I know my human tendency to minimize my sins and make excuses for my actions.
Is it a sin for me to want more? Is my attitude any better than the grumbling Israelites? My conclusion is that it comes down to trust. Those Israelites did not trust God to provide for their needs and wanted to turn their backs on Him and return to Egypt. Moreover, they spoke out against God, attacking His very character. I need to make sure that I demonstrate my trust in God’s plan for me, even though the path He leads me on isn’t the one I would have chosen. I have had professing Christians suggest to me that if I want to have a baby, then I should just do it. That would be the equivalent of returning to Egypt. It would be looking to the world to satisfy my desires rather than trusting God’s plan for my life.
If I trust God, I will only speak what is true of His character, no matter the circumstances. I will tell others that He has been good to me. He has paid the debt I could never pay; He has saved my soul. He meets my needs and then keeps pouring until my cup overflows! Throughout the Bible, there are examples of men and women of faith grieving over different circumstances. Jesus, Himself, cried when He heard that His friend Lazarus had died. Yet, as Paul instructed the Thessalonians, we should “not grieve as others do who have no hope.” I know that he was referring to grief over the death of fellow believers, but it applies to other kinds of grief.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In every sadness, trial, or difficulty, we have a hope that prevents our grief from turning to despair. I often wonder how Elizabeth and Zechariah dealt with the grief of being childless. Luke 1:6 tells us, “they were both righteous before God. . .” This infers that they were not bitter grumblers. They must have been living with the kind of faith that produces hope–and hope did not put them to shame. Perhaps that difficulty in their lives produced endurance, and then came character, which led to their hope.
It doesn’t matter how I feel. It matters what I believe. Do I believe that Christ is enough for me? Yes! Does my behavior demonstrate that I trust God to provide for my needs? That is what I strive for. I pray that I will make decisions based on what I know to be true, rather than how I feel. Do I grumble against God or defame His character? I pray that I never will! I want to speak joyfully of the hope and blessings that are mine. Perhaps I can honestly declare it, after all: Christ is enough for me! I believe that it is true, and that is much more important that feelings or desires.
In my mind this week was the verse, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you. . .” I looked up this verse to be sure that I quoted it correctly. I found Isaiah 26:3 has a last phrase that I was missing: “. . .because he trusts in you.” First there is trust which leads to the mind being set, and then there is peace. I have trust, but I need to learn to keep my mind on Jesus or I will end up in the spiritual sub-basement. God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is set on Him, because I trust in Him. And I believe that He absolutely is enough.