Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seeing Triangles

Three Old Testament passages completed a triangle in my heart as I studied the Bible this morning. When all three came together, I felt a significant peace. But not until I saw them side by side.

Something was there, but I didn't understand it until I saw the three passages next to each other. Let's see if you see it.

Genesis 39:2, "The Lord was with Joseph."

Psalm 46:1, "God is...a very present help in trouble."

Jeremiah 29:13, "And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

Do you see it? "The Lord WAS." "God IS." "You WILL."

Past. Present. Future.

That's MY story. That's YOUR story. That's OUR story. A story the way it should be and could be written, if only we would let go and believe.

PAST. "The Lord was with Joseph" becomes huge when you know Joe's story. He was loved by his father, but hated by his brothers. He had a lot of brothers, so there was plenty of hate to go around. Some of his brothers wanted to kill him. Others just wanted to dump him in a hole and leave him for dead. But Joseph had just enough brothers that one of them planned to come back later and get him out of the hole. Then again, Joseph had just enough brothers that one of them wanted to make a profit off of him. So, they agreed to sell their brother as a slave.

Joseph went from being a treasured son to a dust-eating slave dragged behind a caravan of foreigners and eventually sold at First Monday Trade Days in Egypt. That is when the Bible says, "The Lord was with Joseph."

In spite of your past, God is with you. In spite of your pain, God is with you. In spite of all wounds, self-inflicted or otherwise, God is with you. No matter who you are, what you've done, what's been done to you, or where you've been, you can rise above your beginnings. God can make a masterpiece out of the ashes of your past. God can help you build a new bridge to a new life and new relationships even when you have done your best to burn all bridges.

Have you been rejected? So was Joseph. Have you discovered that the people you thought loved you really didn't? So did Joseph. But "the Lord was with Joseph." Those words change everything! With God, yesterday doesn't have to poison tomorrow. Take your focus off of those who hurt or mistreated you. Put your focus on the God who never will.

PRESENT. "God is...a very present help in trouble." Don't buy the lie. Becoming a Christian doesn't turn you into a problem-free, unsinning saint who never has a bad day, a bad thought, bad breath, or never makes a bad decision. Becoming a Christian means Christ has forgiven you of your sins and moved into your life. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

You ARE going to mess up. You ARE going to find your way to an occasional pit of trouble. God IS a very present help when you do. Pit-dwelling doesn't have to be permanent when you know a guy with a rope. God has the rope, the strength, and the desire to pull you out if you will call out to Him.

When you do mess up, Satan is going to quickly write out your grade, and it will be an "F." The devil loves giving out "F's" to Christians:

"You Failed! That makes you a Failure!"

"How can you call yourself a Christian?"

"God is going to drop you like a hot potato now that you've done that!"

But God doesn't. He is a VERY PRESENT HELP! When your clock strikes "trouble" or "failure" or any other point on the darkest hours of your life, God is very present. When God says He will never leave you, believe it. You might FEEL abandoned because guilt says you deserve it. But the opposite is true. At that very moment, you are more than ever the object of His love, concern, and attention.

FUTURE. "And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." There is no greater guarantee. There is no greater Guarantor. It is so simple, yet we so often miss it. Our future, yours and mine, is as great as our ability to pursue God honestly. Tell God all that is in your heart. Tell Him your troubles, your dreams, your weaknesses, your wounds, your prejudices, your shallow fears, and your deep thoughts. Open up and let it out.

He doesn't listen only to King James prayers filled with lofty oratory. In fact, He may not liketh those very much. He listens to the crying kid in us who needs Dad to protect him, love him, accept him, and guide him. Ohhhh, how He loves childlike prayers!

So there you have it. The triangle completed. God was with us. God is with us. God will be with us. I can face the day and sleep through the night with that in my heart. Can't you?

Triangled by God,
Perry Crisp

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