Trusting Your Way

old library

Trapped of his own accord, he suddenly found himself captive in a strange world of literature, caverns, and old, scratched tile floors. While this new world would seem very warm and humid to others, he found it quite pleasant, no different than the land he had become detached from. He determined that an extremely tall, thin, flexible mesh obscured his passage to freedom. He carefully crawled across to another panel of the same mesh. Was there hope for freedom there? Of course not! In fact, this side harbored even less of a chance of escape—if only he had known it. He observed the world that lay on the other side of this flexible surface, a world he had once been part of. He breathed in its fragrance and longed for more, but with less hindrance. Making a sudden glance in the opposite direction and a quick maneuver, he sprang back to the other side. Seeing no improvement in his situation there, he pondered some more and made his next move to the painted wood surface adjacent to his current position.

Inch by inch, he scaled the towering white wall. Upon reaching a small landing, he carefully traversed it while surveying his newfound domain. It was a vast (and not necessarily inviting) continent with odd structures in the center. Did he find any part of this unusual world appealing? No. But he did ascertain a need to explore the odd cliffs and caverns just a crumb’s throw beneath where he was stationed. His appetite and thirst beckoned him to find some means of satisfaction. After lurking around and behind the works of Lescroart, Macomber, Meltzer, and Patterson, he grew dissatisfied and returned to his post to observe the world below him again. It seemed little had changed in his brief absence. Oh, how he longed to be in his own familiar world again, with its abundance of delectable morsels and refreshing afternoon showers!

Then he descended back along the narrow painted wall and onto the mesh surface again with exquisite agility. Had there been any improvement in detecting a means of a retreat from this land of captivity? Following another routine search, he came to a negative conclusion. Think. Think. Think, he told himself. There must be a way to return to the joyous land of no restraint. His sharp eye spotted a small hole in the mesh. Could it be? He knew he was of the lesser variety in terms of size and diameter, but definitely not that much. Disappointed again, he turned, and with much haste, journeyed back up to his elevated observation post on the top of the towering wooden wall that lay next to the great bulwarks of Coulter, Crichton, and Cussler.

This time, he realized he was not alone. But the huge living creature he spotted seated in the center of this vast land was not of a variety that he would choose to enter into fellowship with. His monitoring of both the strange surroundings, as well as the strange, almost motionless giant proved uninteresting. Yet he sensed that he was being observed as well. After an extended period of lingering, he concluded that this immense territory needed to be explored in areas far beyond what he had previously investigated, not to mention the fact that he was now quite hungry. After a momentary pause, he quickly returned down the wooden tower and rechecked the mesh surface for any changes of its impenetrability. After seeing that it was still not possible to make an easy exit, he then proceeded to scale the vast caverns and corridors of the opposite side of this challenging (and very dry) world of paper, ink, and wood.

Meanwhile, back in the center of this “vast land,” the “giant” continues to write his narrative about a little gecko lizard that managed to slip in through an opening in the frame of a window screen of a warm, cramped library. He noticed how easily and innocently the lizard managed to get himself into the room, but could not figure out how to get himself out again. Then the “giant” pondered how easily people also get themselves into a predicament, and then try to figure out on their own how to escape. He noted that, like this lizard, they often search and search for the exit, never realizing it is only a short distance away from where they had been looking. How often they travel all around the exit, but never actually to the exit itself.

gecko on computer mouse

The lizard tried to find its way out, yet all it did was retrace its steps over and over again. When it branched out into what it thought was another way out, it only moved farther from its entry point and a way of escape. It would very likely never escape if left to its own devices. When someone makes a commitment to God, they have chosen to follow and obey only Him. They have no right at that point to chart their own path, because they now belong to Him and have come under His direction and care. Those who surrender their life to God cannot go off into just any place on their own initiative.

Many people seem to think that they can agree to surrender their life to God while continuing to chart their own course without Him.

This is what happens when people refuse to seek God for direction in their life. They let self be lord over their life, and not God, through His Son, Jesus. While they may not do this intentionally, they still hurt Him when they want to continue on without Him. It is not that God desperately needs them—God doesn’t need anyone! Rather, everyone needs God. What is the point of having a relationship with someone else if one person goes off in his own direction while the other goes the opposite way? When a person surrenders his heart and life to God, then God wants love and companionship and obedience to Him and what He says in His Word, the Bible. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him…” (Psalms 37:5).

arrows graphic

This lizard thought it knew where it was going. How right it seemed, yet it was still trapped and could not find the way out. How many times does this happen in your life? How often do you simply let go and let God order your steps? When was the last time that you determined that you were going to trust in God, and then actually trusted in Him? You need to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). The more you trust in God, the less you will want to trust in yourself. Then you will begin to see just how helpless you really are and how helpful He is. This lizard may never find his way out, but this does not have to be the end result for you. It did not have the means to have a personal relationship with God and His Son. But you do! Put your trust in God and keep it there. Let Him be your guide to lead you in the right path, instead of yourself.


Fixing the Unfixable

metrorail station

I recently read an article about the poor state of the Metrorail mass transit system in the Washington, D.C. area. It has had many problems over the years, but more recently, the “Metro” has been plagued with frequent breakdowns, serious safety concerns, and mismanagement.

I can still remember riding the Metro to visit the museums in downtown Washington when I was very young. It was fairly new back then. I was always fascinated, yet fearful, of the whole subway concept—from entering the stations, buying the fare cards, riding in the cars, transferring trains for other track lines, to riding the escalators to exit the stations. While I certainly enjoyed the ease of being able to commute from the heart of the Maryland suburbs to downtown Washington without dealing with the traffic, especially when the traffic was beginning to backup, I never was really thrilled about the whole trip. There are many things I remember being impressed about concerning the Metro system, such as how advanced and high-tech the cars and their controlling systems were for the times in which they were built, and the paper fare cards with their magnetic strip that could be ‘loaded’ with money for the necessary fares. (Actually, they only had a unique number encoded into the strip linked to a temporary account when read by the appropriate machine). I also recall how gloomy the underground stations were and how little there was for a young child like myself to do there.

Yet, in spite of their glamor (if you could call it that) for that era, the Metrorail system had more than their share of problems even back then. For example, after inserting the fare cards, the machine reading them would occasionally not return them. I was always afraid that it would happen to me, which is very alarming for a young child. This was normal if no money was left on the card, but those who had cards with money left on them were stranded at the machine until an attendant arrived who could hopefully resolve the situation.

But the most frequent problem was late arrivals. I remember quite well the many times we had to wait and wait for the next set of cars to arrive so we could return home.

Even with all of the state-of-the-art technology, there was no real notification system of late arrivals back then. We would wander around in circles hoping our train would come soon (this was pre-Internet and cell phones), or we would just stand at the platform and wait. If we were waiting in an underground station, we would often stare down a dark tunnel in hopeful anticipation of possibly seeing the distant lights of our oncoming train. Of course, for a child, it all seemed like much more than an hour in wait time.

Nowadays, electrical fires or collisions and derailment greatly exacerbate the wait times, but possible solutions are few and very costly. Part of the problem is that there is no single authority for the whole system. Each municipality involved has a governing part and each municipality decides what should or should not be in their part of the total budget. Whoever oversees this multi-authority operation has to continually find a balance between everyone involved (which will likely be contradictory) and still please the riders who are paying for all of this. Another part of the problem is the design. While it was state-of-the-art when built, it could not adequately adapt to significant growth, or even simple breakdowns. Rather than looking at other systems that are relatively successful, they look to their own system and try to rearrange various dysfunctional elements in it, in an attempt to make everything operational again.

Sadly, this is the result of man trying to solve his own unfixable physical problems. It is much like you using yourself as a ladder or step stool to attempt to climb over a wall; the more you try, the less effective you become.

Actually, we do this all of the time with our moral and spiritual problems. We try to solve something intangible with something tangible and wonder why we can’t arrive at a solution. Only God can solve our moral and spiritual problems. The more we leave God out of our lives, the more He leaves us to solve our problems by ourselves. God never created us to function totally on our own. He did not set the world in motion like a top, and then sit back watching it gradually spin down to a standstill.

Many people feel that they are as independent as an island in the middle of an ocean. They consider God to be a crutch, something only the poor and feeble need. They go to great lengths to succeed in this world. They do everything they can to avoid God and anything related to Him. A few will reach the apex of success, at least according to their own standard, becoming billionaires (and now even trillionaires); though, in the end, their end, they will face the same eternity as the poorest of the poor will face, an eternity spent either with God or without Him.

God created us to love Him. He gave us a free will so that the choice to love Him would be solely of our own doing, not as a robot whose only actions are what have been previously programmed.

God fully proved it by the giving up of His son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for all of us—past, present and future. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). God’s Son, from the time He was conceived in the womb to the time He died, was innocent and without any sin. Yet He willingly gave up His life to die as if He was a guilty criminal for all of us. He paid a debt He never owed for everyone, from the first person created to the person who is yet to be born.

God wants us to seek Him for the solution to our problems. While He is not much concerned with fixing the Metrorail or similar problems, He is very concerned about fixing us, and setting us on the right path. When we say we have no need of God or His Son, we are throwing away the opportunity to have a life with Him—both for now and for all eternity. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). An eternity without God is an eternity with Satan in Hell. There is no third option or middle road. The more we push God out of our lives, the more He will let us try to solve our problems without Him, ultimately to no avail. He will let us reach that point where we either give up, handing our life and efforts over to Him, or else we will never give up and will be lost eternally, along with Satan, who doesn’t care about us and has no love for anyone or anything but himself. Don’t push God out and try to live for eternity without Him. It will never work.

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