Friday, February 13, 2009

Keeping the faith - even when things go well

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 3 mph
Humidity: 52%
Mostly Sunny
78°F | 56°F

I understand that those of you who live pretty much anywhere else in this country are going to think I'm crowing here (and I may well be), but this morning happens to be another one of those undeniable affirmations of why we live in Florida. When I got up to walk Scout it was 55 degrees. We walked two and a half miles, then I opened up all the windows in the house while the coffee was making. The high today promises to be around 78 degrees, and when I played golf yesterday I actually caught a little too much sun.

Yes, I have to say it, it's tough living around Tampa in the middle of February; but somebody has to do it!

Most of us are familiar with Paul's declaration that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." But it's one of those "often used out of balance" ideas, and too many of us tend to limit the concept as a reminder to grit our teeth and remember God when we're down on our luck, despite how crappy life can be. You know the drill:
  • I have the flu... but praise God!
  • My car got repossessed... but God loves me anyway!
  • Nothings going right today... but God loves me unconditionally.
  • Stocks are down again... but I have a spirit of joy.
  • It's cold and rainy... but I know peace in my relationship with God.
  • I burned dinner and my spouse forgot Valentines Day... but the Bible says I should be grateful.
It's truly redemptive to be able to see things from that perspective; I'm not knocking that at all.

But... today I can't help thinking about all those times when life is good, things are humming along, the sun is out, the UPS guys just delivered Rebekah's Valentines stuff because I RULE at remembering, and the dog adores me - all those circumstances that are wonderful and make life just hum along... but we often get caught up in the positive, forget that we follow Jesus, and go the entire day without even considering what it means to be a child of God - grateful and faithful despite circumstances that make us, albeit subconsciously, believe we really don't need God when things are going well...
  • I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want; I can do everything through him who gives me strength.(Philippians 4:10-13)
Strength today, for all of us. Simply because we are loved without condition by a God who is eternal and faithful and full of grace.

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