These words from Tony Evans are both convicting and sobering, don’t you think? How quick we as a nation are to claim to the blessings of the Lord while we almost entirely disregard what He tells us to do. The Lord certainly never promises that life will be easy for any of His children, but it certainly might be a whole lot more manageable if we purposed to do things His way.
The Lord provided a good example of this only today. I was at my mother’s house, and she shared a story that was amusing, but also made an important point. Here’s what happened: She ordered a piece of furniture online, and the item was reputed to be “easy to install”. She then asked my stepfather to put the item together. Please understand that my stepfather is a wonderful and caring man, and is quite adept at building things from scratch.
However, my stepfather never once looked at the instructions. So, not only did it take him two days to put the item together, he also put it together wrong. He did “what was right in his own eyes” (note the reference from the book of Judges) and then when things went from bad to worse, he kept on pursuing his own plan, rather than following the original instructions.
Further, my mother shared that the item now had a bunch of other things attached to it that never came in the original packaging (clamps, bolts, etc.). These extra items made the item functional in a way, but only after a great deal of time and expenses were factored into the equation. Notably, there was no hiding the fact that these new elements were not part of the manufacturer’s original design.
So what did he do? Well, he painted the item black. A quick spritz of spray paint saved the day! Or did it…?
Here’s the thing. My mother never asked for the item to be painted black. That was her husband’s idea. Her vision was what the original packaging promised, and what she received was similar to the original design, but it most definitely was not the same. Will the item be functional? Sure. Will it work in the way that the original manufacturer designed? Not likely.
My mother wisely ordered two items. One was assembled (sort of) by my stepfather, but was not executed to her precise standards. So she plans to put together the second item herself and will follow the instructions to the letter — with no extra materials needed.
At the end of the day, she is going to have two very different items: One black, and one white. One sort of cobbled together, and one expertly assembled. And it time, the faulty construction in one item will eventually become known, even if it does not come to light right away. Here is the final takeaway: We are all like my stepdad in this story!
As an aside, if you happen to live here in the United States, you may recollect the final line from the pledge of allegiance (something rarely recited these days), which goes like this:
One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
Notice that the blessings — liberty and justice for all — only come after the nation comes “under God,” rather than before it.
Some food for thought as you move through the rest of your week.