- Eldon Peterson
Looking Upward in an Imperfect World
A few weeks back I tried to do the impossible. I wanted to help someone in our church that was moving and I wanted to attend another friend’s father’s funeral. In my perfect world I would have helped my friend for a few hours, then go home to change and still make it to the funeral. Of course the world that we live in is anything but perfect.
In my perfect world, there would have been so much help moving my friend that it would be clear that I wasn’t needed. In my perfect world, my son wouldn’t have picked up a nail in the sidewall of his truck’s tire while helping them drop off a refrigerator, leaving me stranded and unable to keep my perfect world schedule. Because the world we live in is imperfect, I had to text my friend saying that I was sorry that I would not make it to the funeral.
In this world, we cannot know what each day will bring; stuff happens, and all that we can do is to look upward as we go forward. This is what James tells us to do, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” (4:13-14)
I am wise to approach each day, each decision, by yielding myself to the Lord, declaring, “Lord willing I will…”. Doing this enables me to put off all worry and to walk in Jesus’ words, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
You may say, “That all sounds good, but how can we do this in the real world!” I’m glad you asked! The answer is to rest in who the Lord is; in His character. Resting in Him means to trust in the promises that He gives to all who place their hope in Him. By trusting in Him rather than what I can do will make my worries a thing of the past.
Listen to what the Lord declares about the difference between our thoughts and His, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Realizing how great the Lord is, trusting that his wisdom and purposes surpass my understanding, allows me to rest in the Lord.
Isaiah 55 goes on to offer a vivid illustration of the promise concerning His words, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (10-11)
It is by His words and His deeds that we know and understand who the Lord is. Paul testifies of the importance of His words saying, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) He also speaks of how it is by His deeds that we know Him, “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:19-20)
In this imperfect world we will encounter bumps in the road. Maybe you won’t make an engagement or possibly your candidate didn’t get elected. Are you filled with worry or will you rest in the Lord? Don’t worry, rest in the Lord by looking upward knowing that He will accomplish His will.