Amidst the increasing anxiety and slowing of daily routines, I find myself desiring to share what I might normally keep between myself, God, and the pages of my journal.
From a God who says that he takes care of the birds and flowers, and who says he cares even more for us, he now calmly speaks to the storm in us, "Peace, be still."
"How are you so successful? How are you so stable? How are you so happy?"
I hear the heart behind these questions. We all want to know that someone is working on our behalf - that someone will help us in our need.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?"
I am not a self-made man. I am a result of being dealt a good hand, the investments of those further along than I, and the favor of God. Yes, I work hard; but a man toils in vain unless God sends rain.
I wouldn't say that I'm extremely successful; I've had plenty of failures. But I would say that I'm extremely rich. To me being rich means that I live in an abundance of life-giving relationships.
My richness is purely from God. But I've also learned a thing or two about living richly. The currency of relationships is not what we have, but what we give - not just money, but also time, effort, love, prayer, and faithfulness.
It's a funny thing; as our richness grows, we attract others who desire that richness. We get to give more and that causes more richness in our lives. Richness multiplies.
So how do I become selfless? How do I truly give?
We must first experience the riches of God by spending time with him. As with all things, nothing good originates from us, we can only pass on that which we have experienced.
Stability is such a loaded topic and feels subjective. If I'm in a storm, and I'm in a tiny boat, the winds and waves are terrifying. But if I'm on a massive ship, the winds and waves seem less scary.
Stability is not a matter of how big the waves are but how big our lord is. If money is sitting as lord of our hearts, life feels scary right now. If health is sitting as lord of our hearts, life feels scary right now. But if God is lord of my heart, life feels oddly in control - in His control.
Being in a big boat does not, however, make the waves any smaller or the winds any less fierce - the storm is real. Suffering is real, but it's amazing what happens when we ask God for help, comfort, and peace.
When people ask for stability, I think they're really asking for peace. So often the world lies to us by saying that if we work on ourselves and build a comfortable life for ourselves, then we can be at peace. However, anyone living today (March 2020) knows that's not true.
Peace does not happen when we quiet our surroundings. Peace happens when we quiet our hearts and listen to the voice of God.
The pursuit of happiness is written into the American Constitution as a given right. But why just pursue happiness? It leaves us empty when it's gone.
Have you seen a concert venue after the rock band has left and the lights are turned off? It's sad - it's stinky, it's dirty, and it's boring. I'm not bashing concerts (I just attended a Ben Rector concert), but why do we treat our hearts like a concert venue? We can't live for the things that make us happy once in a while, because there's not enough happiness in the world to outweigh the hurt of poverty, abandonment, depression, starvation, slavery, genocide, sickness, and greed.
There's only one person who says that he is the solution to the poverty, abandonment, depression, starvation, slavery, genocide, sickness, and greed. And that person promises much more than just getting to heaven. That person promises eternal life and eternal joy right now. That person is Jesus.
Instead of success, let's pursue richness.
Instead of stability, let's pursue peace.
Instead of happiness, let's pursue joy.
And the person who holds the key to all of these things is Jesus. Let's pursue Jesus.
"My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth."