Here's a quick guesstimate: I would say that I feel happy, secure, "on top of things" only about 10% of the time that I go to church. And boy am I ready to praise Him in worship on those wonderful rare occasions! But the rest of the time I go for succor to my heart, to call on Him to raise me out of whatever gloomy circumstances or attitudes I am struggling with. And it's no guarantee depending on other church-goers to lift me up. Yes, sometimes God uses them to encourage me, but other times He uses the pastor's message, or the lyrics of a song, or He prompts me to go find someone else who is hurting, and encourage them. Through helping others, you will find your own heart lifted. Then the stained-glass masquerade becomes stained glass transparency, allowing the light of truth to shine through.
What churches needs to show the world is not an image of "aren't we happy, on top of things, and in control!" but an image of "oh what joy is ours because God is in control! God is sovereign over both the heavens and the earth, over every part of our lives. We are so thankful that we can bring our troubles and worries and fears to Him and receive His peace in exchange."
I can't help repeating it. We don't have to be in control or pretend that we've got it all together. GOD IS IN CONTROL. So perfectly expressed in:
Romans 8:28 "And we know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."
Psalm 34:19 "A righteous man may have many
troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all."
A relationship with God, through prayer, reading the Word, and worship; and fellowship with other believers that have a relationship with God, results in balance between security and transparency. A heart that knows it can find security in the One who is in control, and can transparently share the hard things in his/her life because he/she trusts in God and can even praise Him from the very middle of a trial.
Just as the devil loves to spread the lie of the "happy plastic people" at church, he also loves to spread the lie "are you so certain that God in is control? After all, he certainly didn't seem to have much control over the situation in Haiti. Certainly if he was in control, he would have prevented such devastation and suffering as a result of that earthquake. Or if you MUST believe that he is in control, then you have to admit that he's a bit harsh. How could a good God allow such a thing? Is this a God that is really worthy of your allegiance?"
To combat these lies, it is so important to study the Word for yourself so that you KNOW - not because someone else has told you, but because you've seen it in black and white yourself - the real answers to these tempting questions that Satan raises. This is also where it so helpful to have access to other believers who are transparent enough to share their testimonies of how God worked in their lives. How He turned suffering into joy, ashes into beauty, tears into songs of praise (paraphrasing Isaiah 61:3).
This Tuesday's quote was chosen by the contributers to In Other Words. This week's host site, Writing Canvas, has a post about this quote and anyone wanting to participate can ponder on the quote and write about about it on their blog, then link your post to the host blog.