Monday, July 31, 2017

THE DEADLY AND SUFFOCATING IMPRISONMENT OF A MATERIALISTIC EXISTENCE





I am scheduled to teach at a pastor’s retreat and several other venues. A few nights ago, I awoke paralyzed by fear. Would I become fearful during my presentations? Would I flop and make a fool out of myself? Would I spiral out-of-control into depression?

This is the materialistic perspective, the perspective from below. It can be overwhelming, especially as we come to see that we do not have what it takes to ensure positive pleasure/pain outcomes. We are inadequate, limited beings, little more than passing vapors. We are self-absorbed and self-affirming.

I know what it is like to only live with this perspective from below. It is a stifling prison cell, a terror from which there is no escape. It is shark, which will not let go, pulling me deeper under water, as I grasp for a breath of fresh air.

In my fear, I cried out to the Lord like the Psalmist:

·       I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.  (Psalm 34:4-6; ESV)

The Lord is my escape from the prison of my fears. He reminds me that I belong to Him, that I am serving Him, that it is no longer about me and my adequacies, but Him alone. He has taken me by the hand. He surrounds me with His love and assurances of His provisions.

How can I continue to breathe without this Divine perspective? How can I get out of bed if my only hope is in myself? Without Him, I am battered by the waves of life, thrust against the rocks.

I no longer want to be the captain of my own ship. I cannot navigate it without a rudder. It is out of my control. Instead, I delight to know that He is at the helm. I gladly go where He wants me to go, to speak when He would have me speak.

My teachings are no longer mine. I serve Him alone. If I fall, it is for Him. When I am crushed, I am confident that my Savior will restore me, teaching and guiding me in the process. I trust in Him alone – what freedom from myself:

·       Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:23-26)

2 comments:

  1. "How can I get out of bed if my only hope is in myself?"

    I don't understand why you feel your hope is so limited without your God. You can have hope in your friends, family, society, and so on. You can hope for a better future, for example.

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    Replies
    1. Frankly, I guess that I was just blessed with so much depression that these other things/hopes couldn't touch the source of my pain. Only Jesus could.

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