Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A type-A personality and the providence of God - a difficult mix at best (Genesis 22:2)

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 22:2 (CEB) – larger reading Genesis 22:1-14
God said, "Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you."

Charles Spurgeon: You know that, in a wheel there is one portion that never turns round, that stands steadfast; and that is the axle. So in God's Providence, there is an axle which never moves. Christian, here is a sweet thought for thee! Thy state is ever changing; sometimes thou art exalted, and sometimes depressed; yet there is an unmoving point in thy state. What is that axle? What is the pivot upon which all the machinery revolves? It is the axle of God's everlasting love toward his covenant people. The exterior of the wheel is changing, but the center stands forever fixed. Other things may move; but God's love never moves: it is the axle of the wheel; and this is another reason why Providence should be compared to a wheel.

Yet further. You observe, when the wheel moves very rapidly you can discern nothing but the circumference—nothing but the exterior circle. So, if you look back to history, and read the story of a thousand years, you just set the wheel of Providence revolving rapidly; you lose sight of all the little things that are within the circle; you see only one great thing, and that is, that God is working through the world his everlasting purposes. You sit down and take a book of history—say the History of England—and you will say of one event, "Now that seems to be out of place;" of another, "That seems to be out of time;" of another, "That seems to be adverse to the cause of liberty;" but look through a thousand years, and those things which seemed as if they would crush liberty in her germ; those things which seemed as if they would destroy this our commonwealth in our very rising, have been those which have caused the sturdy oak of liberty to take deeper root. Take the whole together, instead of the things one by one; look at a thousand years, and you will see nothing but one round ring of symmetry, teaching you that God is wise, and God is just. So let it be with you in your lives. Here you are fretting about troubles today. Think also of the past; put all your troubles together, and they are no troubles at all. You will see that one counteracts the other. If you take your life—not today, but look back on forty years of it—you will be obliged, instead of lamenting and mourning, to bless God for his mercies toward you. Let the wheel go round, and you will see nothing but a ring of everlasting wisdom revolving.

Providence. God’s providence. God’s provision for the future. My desire is to understand, but I live in America. The old “Protestant Work Ethic” is alive and well in my life. I learned that lesson well … too well, it would appear. My heart hurts with all the trying.

The head-tapes won’t stop. Dad though long dead still speaks – “Jimmy, if it is worth doing it is worthy doing well.” Oldest brother though long dead still speaks – “Jimmy, the only way you are going to make it in this world is by your own efforts.” My head hurts. Shouting: “Make it stop! Make it all go away” doesn’t work. The tapes just keep on running and running and running…

You’ve guess it… I am type-A. Yikes, that’s hard to admit. Bought into the “work hard” and then continued to work even harder. Approval is important. God knows the desire. God’s approval really doesn’t count. It’s a “in the flesh” kind of thing. Work hard and long for that approval. The craving is strong.

God’s providence, don’t be ridiculous. Abraham, Isaac and Mount Moriah is just a hard pill to swallow… and please don’t ask me to explain it… especially in the light of being a good Protestant Work Ethic type-A guy.  And yet… there was that ram.

There is that axle. My life might be spinning… and by my effort, spinning very fast… but what about the axle? What about Abraham’s ram? That cannot be easily explained now can it? Did Abraham understand the axle? Or did he just trust God to provide? Does God provide even when I don’t understand how it happens or why? Does the wheel know that there is an axle?

Providence. God’s providence. God’s provision for the future… my future … oh, glorious axle!


The tapes won’t stop running, so give me patience to live with them running. Thank you for providing even when I don’t understand how it works.

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