Trading Up

Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. Isa 3:8-9

The people were defying God’s glorious presence.   Literally, the Hebrew means they defied “the eyes of his glory.”

This reminds me so much of the verse “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts completely belong to him.” (II Chronicles 16:9,)

God’s eyes are always watching.  He sees each person, and each action that is for him or against him.  He sees all the way into each heart, whether it is devoted to him.

His face is perpetually turned towards mankind.

And the Jews of Judah were like, “In your face, God!”  They paraded their sin.  Their expressions were rebellious.

We’ve got to be a people who seek God, instead of turn away.

Because what I love about II Chronicles 16:9 is that God will strengthen those whose who choose to put their eggs in his basket.

And that’s what I want to talk about today, making the choice to put our eggs in his basket.

The thing is, we usually don’t feel like our “eggs” look that impressive.  Our faith can seem, as one friend described it when she texted me this week, to be “smaller than a seed.” How can we come to God with a faith that doesn’t look like we think it should?

But that’s the thing.  We give God what we have.  We choose to put our trust in him, even if it’s not pretty.

My friend Yesenia told me about a book she’s reading, “Love Does,” by Bob Goff and Donald Miller.  In this book, the authors talk about how we “trade up” with God.  They tell the story about a guy who only had a dime, but he traded it for something a little better, and then he traded what he got for something a little better, and so on, until he actually had a truck.

And Goff and Miller say that’s the same way with God.  As my friend Yesenia told me,  “He asks us to give up ourselves (the dime) for something bigger and better (a life with him where we are fully engaged and living.”

We give God our puny little faith, and he gives us much more in return.

I have found this to be so true over the course of my life.  When I was in my late teens, I was adrift and struggling after my mom’s divorce.  I took a step towards God, and he gave me a a Christian husband and a church full of great people.  In my 20’s, I got off track and floundered.  We moved to Atlanta to seek God more wholeheartedly, and the whole course of my life improved.  We joined a church that made a tremendous difference in my life.

This pattern continued.  I had years when things were very hard.  Yet as I held to God, and put my eggs in his basket, he gave me more at just the right time. We had a tough time raising our kids through their teen years, and also felt like we were failing as we tried to lead a church family group.  But we moved to Auburn to help the small church here, and our life has been blessed beyond imagining.  I am so grateful.

God’s glorious presence is all around us.  His eyes are upon us.  Will we take a step towards him, or a step towards what we want instead?

Will we trade up or trade down?  It feels scary to trade up.  We would much rather rely on what we can see and do, especially when the winds of life roar around us.

But as I reflect over my life, I see that sometimes God allowed the wind to roar so that I would learn to surrender and put my life in his hands.  Then he gave me the blessings I really needed.

PC Bayou

From a family trip to Panama City. To me, it illustrates that the path to God leads to good!

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:24

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