I’ve been reading a book my friend Susan lent to me for probably almost a year now or so. It’s a really thoughtful book while still being a very easy read. I can’t really think of many other books like it in my life. It’s called “Walking With God” by John Eldridge. Here’s something I thought was really important for any Christian to think about. In the chapter in this book called “On Things God Withholds” he says basically that we shouldn’t ever feel like we’ve arrived apart from God, arrived at happiness, contentment, stability… He says everyone has some thing or things (probably more likely) that God has asked you to live without. It could be a spouse, some possesion(s), financial success, or even some other kind of success. Maybe it’s even some kind of character attribute or health issue! In my humble opinion, those sound like the hardest (or maybe they would be easier to accept because there would be less you could do about it, I don’t know).
In Luke 12:16-21 the story about the rich man who wants to build bigger barns is told by Jesus after a man yells out that he wants Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him. Jesus is telling this story as a warning against greed. Now, most of us would say, “oh, I’m not greedy.” and then a few minutes later or before we might have said “I deserve this, don’t I?” Maybe you feel that you do because you are faithful to God and his will, or for other reasons based on good things you’ve done. No question about it, I’m sure those things are wonderful. But, (and you knew this was coming) are you imagining that just having this one thing will make your life so wonderful. Maybe in the back of your mind the thought crouches behind a dozen others in hiding, even, that it will satisfy you. Maybe, even satisfy you completely. Will life be perfect after that? What would our attitude towards God be then?
New International Version (NIV)
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
“…but is not rich toward God.” Eldridge brings up a very good perspective I doubt if many of us have considered. He likes to call these things that happen in our minds which are the root of sins that we begin to commit in our hearts “agreements”. In this case, it is an agreement that “I need this.” He ends this chapter with this:
“I know that I face a choice. I can feel it down inside, and I watchi it take place in my heart. I can let my disappointments define my life. Or I can let them take me back to God, to find my life in him in ways I have not yet learned. The rest remains a mystery. But this is enough to know.
And so I break the agreement that I’ve made, that I need this. I give this place in my heart back to you, God. Fill me with your love and your life, in this very place.”
I hope this has been encouraging to you. If you read this book (and I really recommend it. It’s not one you’ll regret) please let me know what you think!