April 19, 2006

Learning to Wait (Systematic Theology applied)

As an American white male (not being racist, just being real), I want things; I want them now; I want them a certain way...MY WAY!!! Most times, however, God does not see fit to operate according to MY WAY. In fact, He hates when I live MY WAY. It is impossible, that we would by default, approach all situations with no expectations and/or demands. I don't believe that is inherently wrong. From all I understand, it becomes wrong at the point when our demands become the more important that God and others.

Many characters in the Bible either had to wait, or perhaps even, were ultimately denied in their requests to the Father. The ones who come to mind first are:

  • Job: He knew God was sovereign. But he probably never understood why God did what He did. Honestly, God was not obligated to tell him.
  • David: He desired the temple, but God would not allow him to. (I think this would have been hard for me to cope with.)
  • Paul: The "thorn in the flesh" was never removed, whatever it happened to be. God simply gave grace in the need.
  • Christ: He wanted the desired end accomplished another way. However, He submitted to the will and glory of His Father.
Knowing all that I know about God and these characters has not seemed to help alot in the last couple of weeks. That is probably a shame. Theology is easy when it is required on paper, but when it is required in thoughts and actions, it becomes seemingly impossible. You know God is sovereign, and that His sovereignty trumps all situations, because He is working towards His glory and my Christlikeness (Rom. 8:28-30). What happens, though, when in my humanity, I want MY WAY more than I want God to receive glory and more than I want to be like Christ? That is where I am constantly in my spiritual life.

In my respective setting, I was denied a position of leadership, which on paper I seemingly was qualified to obtain. I sought answers as to the cause. I questioned with a good spirit, at least on the outside. To my chagrin, however, I was spreading seeds of strife amongst my friends about the situation. Unfortunately, the answers received were vague and possibly based on shady knowledge. To make matters worse, a less-experienced friend of mine was accepted and received the position. To make a long story short, another opportunity came my way, and again I was denied. In my mind I said constantly, "I DESERVE THIS!!! I AM QUALIFIED!!!"

As I prayed about it and thought about why these things were present, I began to think of all I had received that I did not deserve, and the things for which I was not qualified. I think the list of positives heavily outweighed the list of negatives. My reasoning is not one of balancing good vs. bad, but rather of realizing "fairness" is not really an accurate focus.

If I can't focus on fairness, what then should I focus on? The overwhelming answer to that question is God's faithfulness. I know that all things work together for my Christlikeness, because of God's sovereignty. Also, I know He works all things after the counsel of His own will. God is in control. (That may the most simple truth in understanding, yet it is the hardest truth to actively believe) As for God, His way is perfect. As for me, I will wait on Him, for He does all things well.

***The more I learn and respond to truth, the bigger fan I am of systematic theology. Everyone acts according to ST, but some refuse to believe it. Every moral choice I make is based on what I believe about God, His Word, and myself (being based on God's Word, the revelation of Himself). By the way, when you get to heaven, ask Job what he thinks of systematic theology...I think I know what he'll say...