Not Home Yet

I have been reflecting a lot the last few days about the painful reality of being a sinful man living among other sinners. The weight of our collective fallenness often seems too hard to bear. When I am hurt or sinned against it is not long until I realize my own culpability in the events that caused my pain. It is an intricate web woven by my own sinful desires and motives. Calvin observed that the heart is a labyrinth. It is very difficult to sort out. We don't even understand ourselves.

One of the afflictions I see in my heart is the desire to be in control; to be sovereign. When things don't go my way then I fight hard to gain control. My style is often passive aggressive. But of course the notion of truly being in control is nothing more than an illusion and the desire to be in control nothing less than idolatry.

Through it all I am reminded once again that I am not home yet. I am still living east of Eden. As a result I will continue to disappoint be disappointed. I will continue to offend and be offended. But hope is not lost. In fact Christians are unapologetically future oriented. Hope, for us, is like air. We can't live without it and God does not intend for us to live without it.

I have been helped by the writing ministry of Paul Tripp. It's not that Tripp has stumbled upon brand new truth. He is refreshingly un-trendy. Tripp does what all good Bible teachers do. He takes the Scriptures and like a mirror holds them up in a way that helps me see my heart. Specifically Tripp takes me time and again back to the centrality of the Gospel as God's great means of transformation.

I was challenged this morning as I continued reading in his new book Broken-Down House. In particular I was confronted with my idolatry of control.

"[When] we encounter an area that we cannot control, we tend to see it as out of control! We need to understand that God's sense of order is very different from ours. What looks like utter confusion to us is actually a discrete piece of divine planning, every time. But in the finiteness of our understanding, wisdom, and experience, it is often hard to see the order...

When you question or lose sight of the good and perfect rule of the Lord, you can end up fearing the power of another. Whether a malevolent hidden terrorist, a very real and immoral relative, or a pure figment of your imagination, you will perceive someone as having character and intentions that tempt you to anxiety...

Only when you are comforted by the fact that God's ultimate, comprehensive, flawless, holy authority, can you stop being afraid of human authority. When you truly know that the 'king's heart is in the hand of the Lord' (Prov. 21:1), you can be freed from the anxiety of flawed human rule...

We simply need to accept that the reasons God does what He does in our lives, or how our life fits into the whole of his grand redemptive plan, will never be completely clear in this life. This is why real rest and peace is not found in knowing and understanding. It is only found in trust. Only when you have a quiet confidence in the Lord behind the plan and have come to know his love, wisdom, power, and grace, will you be able to rest in hope - even when you do not understand what God is doing in a particular moment in your life. This is exactly the experience expressed in Psalm 33:2021, 'We wait in hope for the Lord; his our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.'