Ever Felt the Pressure of a Deadline?
I speak pretty good Spanish… and have forgotten more French than most people know… But, I have a great accent in both languages. The curse in this is that people often approach me and say “say something in Spanish!!!” What you may not know is the pressure that crushes someone put in that position: “Produce greatness at a moment’s notice!!!”
Sometimes, I feel crushed by that same pressure on a Thursday or Friday while preparing for my Monday post… More often, it’s an even heavier pressure… on… Monday morning. Don’t you just love how the pressure of a deadline forces you to flourish or fold? Can you feel it on your shoulders, in your head, or in the pit of your gut?
Are You A “Muster” or a “Truster”?
In any situation, we find this fork in the road – Muster Street or Truster Trail… When we muster results – which often… we must… The solution is based on hard work and ultimately comes down to one word: me. Mustering results is about “force”. When we force things, the outcome depends more on strength and wisdom but under pressure creates excess tension & stress. Victory rings hollow because we’ve fought and won… the wrong battle.
God always desires us to trust in Him and not lean on our own understanding. To be a “truster” overall depends on one word: He. Trusting God with outcome is about “flow”. Outcomes, which always depend on God anyway, remove great pressure from us.
Back to Jonah, “That Guy”, and You
Often, I’ll sit across the table from a guy who’s struggling in his marriage/significant relationship. We’ll talk more and a few other issues will become evident – sometimes family of origin, maybe related to habitual sin, often another issue about work/business troubles… And, “oh, my quiet time is a little spotty.”
We’ve blogged this before, right? If he could rub his bible three times and make one of those problems go away with a wish, he most often picks the work troubles or the marital/relationship issues. If he had a second wish he’d ask God to clean and polish up his life with a little “Porn-B-Gon”… But, rarely if ever does he start with “just pray that God helps me abide in Him and know him better…” Funny, right? The one solution that could solve all of the other problems (or at least make them bearable) is the last one to come to the table…
Solve the right problem or you’re boasting in your strength… Boasting in your wisdom… Looking through Jonah’s eyes and fighting, sometimes winning, the wrong battles.
When we lean on wisdom and strength… specifically, our own, we’re trying to solve the wrong problem. This is most often because we’re seeing the problem through our own eyes. Jonah needed to see the problem through God’s eyes – there were over 100,000 children in that Assyrian city who did not know the Lord… Jonah was more concerned with his own comfort…
How’s That Working for Ya?
Ever played Jonah? Ever gone on a long journey to find what you’re looking for only to find it wasn’t what you were looking for? No one knows if Jonah ever found his full satisfaction in the Lord… We just know that God rebuked him for being more concerned about a plant that brought him temporary comfort from a permanent problem.
Some of the problems that face us are not problems that can be solved in a Genesis 3 world. Those problems require perseverance that only comes from God. Those are the times when instead of God calming the storm on His child’s behalf, He lets the storm rage and calms His child. This is a place of peace under pressure. This is our witness to a lost and dying world.
I can’t think of many other reasons God would put this verse in the scriptures for us, but to encourage us through the times when we mistakenly take the wheel and veer toward “Muster”…
“This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches,24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. (Jer. 9:23-24)”
May you win many battles… because you’ve fought the right ones. May you boast in the Lord and not your own strength. May you boast that you know Him not just know about Him. Therefore, may the outcomes He delivers to you come from Him, letting the stress and strife of the storm pass you by unscathed.