I'm trying to feel a little overwhelmed by Cynthia Shroyer
A friend shared this saying with me a while back. It came to her by way of her elementary school-aged daughter. It sounded vaguely familiar, but right off the bat I couldn’t figure out why.
Here it is:
“I’m Burger King and you’re McDonalds. Gonna have it my way and you’re gonna like it.”
Yeah. Read that one again. And maybe a third time or fourth.
I laughed at first when I read it. Then it wasn’t so funny. I know I’ve heard that phrase before, but the part that struck me hardest was I can remember saying something similar to God.
“I’m in charge of my life. I’m gonna do things my way and You’re gonna like it.”
Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about. As my kids would say, “I smell what you’re steppin’ in.”
Stinks, don’t it?
Here’s a verse for you:
“He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.” (Psalms 107:14)
Now you would think we would have a little bit more respect for Someone who did all that, wouldn’t you? And yet day after day, week after week, year after year we tell God where to get off our life’s highway.
“Uh, yeah, that exit right over there is Yours. See it? The one right before I head on over to spend the night on those porn sites.”
You can feel free to replace “porn sites” with whatever your vice of choice is. It might not be porn. It might be drinking too much, abusing other substances, yourself, or your family. It might be lying, cheating, stealing. It really doesn’t matter, it’s all wrong. Segueing from preaching to meddling I can mention all the other things we all do — speeding, not actually stopping at that stop sign, writing that check a little before you know money is in the account.
What? Yeah, that stuff is wrong too. It is breaking the law of man, something Jesus instructed us to keep unless it goes against the laws of God. I don’t know of many man-made laws that go against God’s and the ones most of us break pretty much should be obeyed.
The truth is we just don’t think about this stuff. We get up in the morning after going to bed when we darn well please. We eat what we want; talk how we want; read, watch and think what we want with little or no input from God. Pretty gutsy to think we’re out here on our own. To think we can do what we want with no repercussions.
And when there are repercussions for going about life without consulting God, what do we do? We blame God, like He had something to do with our poor decision making. Also pretty gutsy, or stupid, or arrogant.
Think about the kind of darkness God brought you out of. How deep was your gloom? How many chains did you have wrapped around your heart and soul, maybe even your body?
Even a brief glance at the answers to those questions should be an impetus to change how we act and react in life.
So what keeps us in that persistent state of disconnect?
Pastor Bob Coy put it this way, “We are overwhelmed with emotion and stuff instead of being overwhelmed by Jesus.”
That merits some thought. I get overwhelmed by my finances, my school work, my job, my family difficulties, by the “change oil” light flagging me down when I start my car up, finding time to fit in all the stuff that my life includes. But do I get overwhelmed by Jesus? Have I ever?
Oh, sure, I get emotional when I can feel the blessing of God, when something seemingly impossible works out and I know without a doubt God’s hand has been moving in my life. I react to worship experiences with more than a cursory singing of a set of songs in church. Sometimes I do get overcome, completely undone by the goodness of God and all He has done for me.
The thesaurus lists these words for “overwhelmed”: devastated, overpowered, broken, ravaged, triumphant, saving, defending.
Do you feel any of that when you think of Jesus and what he has done for you? Are you devastated by your life situation? Or are you devastated, ruined by the love of Christ?
Wait a minute. You don’t see how you can be ruined by the love of Christ? When you really take time to think, ponder, meditate, to take an honest look at all the love of Christ has gained you, how can you help but have your heart lay in ruin? Destroyed and not fit for the things that once were good enough? Is your heart not bankrupt, are you not a pauper? Do you not find yourself wanting, drained?
At that point we find ourselves with no choice but to stay at the feet of Jesus in desperation, no choice but to fill our bankrupt souls with His overwhelming, triumphant, saving, defending grace.
Rather than tell God “this is my life, butt out,” we should post prominently this quote from Henry Ward Beecher.
“We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for high things.”
Life isn’t fair. A fair is where you go to ride carnival rides and look at 4-H projects. Life is sometimes not fun, not happy. But in the midst of the all the junk, the hammering we take on the anvil, the heat we’re subjected to in the forge, we can be completely overtaken by God. It just takes a change in the attitude of our heart.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)