Fretting at 451 Degrees

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“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”  Psalm 37:1

Fretting, evildoers, envy, workers of iniquity, fire, paper, and a rolling car- what do they all have in common?  More than I would have thought.  Let’s start with the car first.  So last night I came home with dinner and my friend and parked my car at the top of my driveway.  I even engaged the handbrake.  We ate dinner with my two girls who are at home, my husband got home from Bible study, and we sat down to watch, “Where Hope Grows.”  How ironic.  My daughter hears a noise, and our next door neighbor comes to the door to inform us that our car has rolled across the road and into another neighbor’s fence.  I am so thankful, Lord, that only property was damaged and no people were involved!  Yep, not a lovely way for a good day to end.

When things are financially hard, how does it feel to have your car kind of impale itself on a fence, taking out part of the neighbor’s concrete base and chain link fence, damaging the rear axle, bumper and more?  This is the family car that juggles between family members to get us where we need to go.  How does it feel to hear that news, to know what has just transpired, to know the difficulties that it’s going to bring, to wonder where is the money coming from?  what will this do to insurance?  why us?  why now?

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”  You know, Lord, I stood there and I thought, “I did everything I was able to prevent this.”  I thought engaging the hand brake was enough.  But it wasn’t.  And now, look at this.  I can’t fix it.  I couldn’t even prevent it.  But You can fix it.  You can provide.  You can take care of us.  Because even a car rolling down a hill is under Your control.  I’m disappointed but I’m not forsaken.  And I’m not angry even though I could have been.

So what does this have to do with evildoers or workers of iniquity?  Sometimes, we don’t battle against human evildoers or human workers of iniquity.  See, there is also this man of sin, this son of perdition who is working against us.  But I have this Man of Counsel, this Man of Holiness, the Mighty God, the Life who is working for me, and He trumps that little man of sin every time!

That little man isn’t opposing me except first to oppose, You, Lord.  This evildoer, this worker of iniquity tries in every way to exalt himself above You and everything of Yours.  Sometimes he tries to do that through my attitude about the things around me.  Sometimes he tries to ignite a fire in me.  Sometimes he rolls my car down a hill on purpose.  Imagine that, just to get my anger flaring up and to damage Your testimony in me.

But You remind me, “Don’t fret over it.”  Fretting isn’t just worrying.  Fretting is from the Hebrew word “harah” and means “to burn, kindle, glow.”  See, fire comes from a reaction, a chemical reaction.  Some things have to come together and react to one another to bring fire about.  Oxygen and a fuel, like wood or gasoline, and an ignition source have to all react together.  Here’s how it happens for wood.  First, there has to be something that heats the wood.  It could be a match, lightning, friction, focused light, but it’s something that is already burning.  Get the right combination of gases, and heat, and other stuff and the wood begins to burn.  Here’s the thing about burning- it’s self-perpetuating.  It’s own heat keeps it going.

See, in situations like this and in situations with what I see other people doing around me, I can run the danger of being a self-perpetuating angry fire.  That’s exactly what the son of perdition is trying for.  But the fact of the matter is that my car couldn’t roll down that hill if the Author of Life didn’t release it into the hands of the son of perdition.  Why would He do that?

Throw a piece of paper into a fire and every time it’s not going to burn until it hits 451 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oh, yeah, that’s where the book “Fahrenheit 451” got it’s name.  It’s a book about book burning.  You know, books are made of paper.  Well, maybe, I have this natural temperature at which I reach my burning point.  And the son of perdition knows it.  But I have this Abba Father who knows me better.  And He’s supernaturally powerful.  And I’m His and He’s mine and He allows me to be put in situations that test my ignition point so that He can bring me to a supernatural response.

See, I don’t have to get angry at the devil or the circumstances or the people who may surround those circumstances, because they really aren’t in control  of me or the things around me.  God’s going to take care of them one way, and He’s going to take care of me another.  I’m not called to react in anger or jealousy; I’m called instead to respond, to react in trust and keep doing His good and letting it flow from me.  My reaction will influence the reaction of others around me.  Am I exhibiting trust in You, Lord?  As I do, I will, and I mean I WILL see You feed me and meet my needs.

And what does it look like when I don’t react in anger but in trust instead?  It looks like someone who is delighting in You.  What?  How can you be happy and content in the midst of this or after this?  Because I know my God.  He’s mine and I’m His even when things don’t look like they’re working out well.  I have this tremendous God who loves me and meets me where I am and lifts me up.  I don’t always know His timing, and I struggle with surrendering to that timing, but I am so grateful for His patience and watchcare.  When He is my desire, I know that He will give me more of Himself, and whatever He needs to supply to bring forth His plan for me, He will do it, no matter how things look.

So I have to learn to not react to the circumstances and people around me when stuff like this happens.  I have to choose to commit to Your way, Lord, instead.  And You will bring all of Your will to pass even in my little life, because then my little life will be enveloped in Your glorious, supernatural life.  And it’s there, in You, that I am learning to rest.  And it is there, in You, that I am learning to wait patiently for Your solution.  This is why I don’t need to fret.  This is how I can stop burning with anger.  This is how I keep from thinking evil and not trusting that You are in control.

Because here’s what happens when I let these circumstances make me angry.  It’s like me saying, “I don’t like what You are doing in my life, Lord.  You are all wrong.  Cut it out and do it differently.”  I want to learn to trust, commit, and rest in You.  I want to always acknowledge that You are ALWAYS in control of every situation and circumstance in my life.  I want to surrender to You and Your way and revel in it because I’m busy revelling in You.

Well, Lord, I haven’t got a handle on this situation.  I still don’t know how to fix it all.  But I have this beautiful, wonderful God who already knows the best outcome and already has it under control.  So teach me to enjoy the ride.  Order my days and my steps and uphold me.  Teach me to wait on You, to be bound with You, twisted together like cords of rope until we are one rope.  I’m not in this alone.  You’re walking through the whole thing with me.  You were there even before I knew it was happening.  And You even designed this for my good and the good of others.  Let my response declare that instead of anger.  Let my response declare Your salvation and strength.  If I burn with anything, let it be with Your love and admiration.

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