Our base, if we want to experience living grace, is trusting that God is Sovereign. But what does this look like on a practical level?
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy for what they called his “misfortune.”
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
Way too many of us live in our own little bubbles determining good and bad from what we see from within our own bubble. Most of us see this clearly in others but rare is the person that is willing to see that within themselves that we too live in a bubble of our own making. This is often compounded for Christians that feel that they must explain why God does what He does or does not do.
Jeremiah 42:6 tells us that, “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.”
My friends, God is good. In this world you will feel pain, rejection, betrayal and more. God is still good. Things will often not go the way you planned or desired. God is still good. This good God is capable of seeing multiple variations of where each little choice takes us and how even the smallest choice can deeply impact our future.
It would have been very easy for God to simply wipe out the people who were living in the promised land to make way for the nation of Israel to occupy and experience the joys of the promise. But there were peoples left behind to help keep the nation trained and alert. Look at what happened when those were removed from the equation. Kings of Israel turned to idols and false gods of all sorts.
When things get too easy, we tend to turn to what we can see and touch. Then problems come up and we depend on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to solve those problems. At best, these solutions are band aids. We build housing for the homeless and throw them in and celebrate our success. Five years later the building is in disrepair and the whole neighborhood has a higher crime rate. It got this way because we did not seek God’s wisdom. If we want to help, we must start with the inside of the person. Help them build character (this takes time). If we sow good character and expect good character, we will harvest good character. That is information from the tree of life.
Rich Schaus is the executive director for the Gospel Rescue Mission in Muskogee.