‘All shook up’
Year-long pandemic, COVID deaths and sufferings, human trafficking and starvation, hurricanes, record winter storms in the South creating deaths and major power outages, earthquakes in Japan, Christian leaders falling from grace, political unrest here and in other nations, religious censorship gaining momentum. All this and more in a world that is affected by the fallen, sinful nature of mankind which can be extremely distressing. How are you reacting to and/or dealing with these, as well as other issues? Are you shaken by all or some of these events?
As I was visiting with Jeff Libby, he relayed part of an interesting sermon that he had recently watched. Paul Tripp stood before an audience, held up a bottle of water, unscrewed the cap, and shook it. When he did, water went flying everywhere. The first question Paul asked the audience was, “Why did water come out of this bottle?” Everyone answered, “Because you shook it.” To which Paul replied, “Let me rephrase my question: why did WATER come out of this bottle?” The crowd was silent. Paul said, “Because WATER is what was inside the bottle when I shook it.” Whatever is inside of us when we are shaken is what comes out of us.
Great image for each of us to embrace. We are told and we have witnessed its truth in our lives as well as others, that our heart produces most of our actions and reactions. “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Mt. 25.19). Shaking exposes our weaknesses. The week-long record setting sub-zero blizzard in Texas exposed the weakness and deficiencies in our power grid. And maybe in many of us as well. Fear, grumbling, blaming—what was yours?
I find it so amazing, also challenging, even comforting, that God doesn’t waste anything to further his kingdom in the hearts and souls of men, especially his redeemed. We Believers are not immune to God’s chastening. In fact, maybe it has been reserved for us. To extract what is in us that does not glorify him. He allows events, he sends events, but he also controls events. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8.28).
Hope in God
The story of salvation from Genesis to Revelation is how we must set our hope on God. Most all circumstances, great or small, are beyond our ability to control, much less fix. In today’s hi-tech world, so much is coming at us so rapidly, we hardly have time to focus on what is important. How can I see God in all of this? For me, my family, the world. We must develop a Christ-centered worldview. When our eyes drop to focus on the circumstances, without filtering it through God’s lens, we will invariably get, as Elvis sang, ’all shook up’.
On the cross, Jesus was not reacting to the horrible event, he was obeying his Father, believing it was the perfect solution for the world’s fallen nature. That had been settled in eternity past, and finally in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Lk. 22.42). Isn’t that the mindset (heartset) that we should adopt. I truly believe, starting with me, that the majority of us view everything through a narrow lens of ‘myself’. Here we are, seated comfortably on the throne of our own hearts, and like any king, you are going to remedy the situation, to prosper me and protect ‘my kingdom’. Step down, place Jesus there, knowing that with him there, it’s a recipe for not getting ‘all shook up’.