I felt the weight of my own rebellion today. Have you felt yours lately? It’s been bothering the human race since the beginning. It’s in every heart. It takes different forms in each of us, but it is there. When the stinging question that exposed my rebellion today shook hands with my heart it felt like two wrong ends of magnets being forced to get along. The rebellion always starts with an innocent question from the enemy. And it always leads to hostility toward your Maker.
I had been thinking over some recent events. Hard times. And my thought process started to question how and when things will get better. While I will admit things have gotten supremely better, today I allowed myself to pose the question: “What if this is all the better it ever gets? What if I have to live at this point for longer than I expect?” I’m sure it is a difficult question to ask at any stage of life, and to be honest, it is not even a fair question to begin with (more on that later), but what is crucial is how your heart responds. Does it wrestle to get free at the thought? Does it feel as though suddenly you are not a guest in this life, but rather a prisoner? What if you are truly stuck in this chapter of life? Will you be ok? My heart shot up daggers toward heaven. That’s when I found the rebellion. It was hiding under hope of better days. There is nothing wrong with hoping for better days. I know He has good for me and things will change, but it was my heart’s reaction that alarmed me. When these hopes were threatened I became defensive—toward God. Sometimes rebellion hides under a peaceful cloak.
Most people aren’t afforded the opportunity to observe their own rebellion until they go through trying times. And even then it can be so subdued and glossed over that it doesn’t show up on the radar. This can be the worst rebellion of all. So subtle. Undetected for years. Nonetheless, our heart’s indignation to God’s shaping is constant and continuous. Today I was able to pinpoint my own subtle rebellion. I am placing too much hope in a brighter tomorrow, when all along I am neglecting the lesson of peace found in the present. I am looking for a better year, a better future, maybe even a better life, all while wasting the present. Yes, the present has been an ugly, harrowing companion as of late, but it is still a gift meant to be treasured. Where is the treasure? Is it even possible to find true peace in the midst of hard times?
When I am hanging out in the storms of life for what seems like too long, it’s time to ask hard questions. Am I really learning? Or am I closing my eyes behind my mask until it’s safe to come out? Am I longing too much for better times and hence neglecting life entirely? Never achieving what God has for me today? Always stagnating, never reaching. I can see the trajectory for people on this path: We end up sad and bitter. Bitter at God for abandoning us, and bitter at ourselves for not making better choices. And sometimes, like today, we accidentally ask, “What if things don’t get better until we learn to swim in the storm?” There it is again. The rebellion. It says, “I don’t want to.” “You can’t make me.” And because I’m a little stubborn it might even say, “I just won’t play.” But this is life. I want to play.
I decide I want to play even when the game is difficult. I decide to open my eyes, face the storm, and tell myself to stop questioning God and instead question the rebellion itself. I peer out from behind my mask and inquire, “What lie are you telling me? What’s your angle this time, Serpent?” And I see it. It is the same angle as at the very beginning. It’s not even a new lie. It is an old lie: Distrust. Doubt that God is taking care of me; that He has my best interest at heart.
If you pay attention you will notice the enemy’s lies are always two-part. The main lie always rests on an assumption which is a lie. It is always an innocent question that poses two wrong answers. The basic premise is flawed.
The assumption today was that things aren’t getting better and that I am not ok today, right where I’m at. Discouragement. And that paved the way for Distrust. The question was basically “Will God come and rescue me?” Will He be a hero and save the day? Or will I be abandoned here forever? Again, the premise of the question is wrong. It assumes that he is not already here right now. He is standing with me. And He stands with you. (2 Timothy 4:17) It is important to identify the lies. I wasn’t randomly questioning my life today. I was under attack from the enemy. So why did my heart respond with rebellion toward God?
My rebellion shows me I question His love for me. I question whether He has me safe. Whether He is careful with me. Whether this is part of what He is doing to bring me to a new shore. I know the answers now that I have all the information. And I find the all-important truth—the treasure—that He is enough and all I need right now. I have been hoping in God to get me to better days. Instead, I need to be putting my hope in God for today. Come what may. He is taking care of me today. Not “probably will tomorrow”. Today. Discouragement and distrust have no place. And rebellion is not necessary.
It seems He lets so many of us linger in the storms to learn this lesson because He knows we will never be truly happy in the good times until we know the truth forward and backward: He is all you need. It’s tough love, but it’s the only cure for rebellion. He loves you and takes care of you all the time. Praise God, the enemy’s plan for me today only served to expose that I was putting my hope too much on circumstances. My reaction showed me that I didn’t truly know that He has me right beside him today. Hope is beautiful and necessary and sometimes the only thing that gets us by, but hope can also be a brilliant façade. A mask to hide behind. When we focus only on our hope for a better tomorrow, we abandon the treasure to be found today. We unwittingly neglect the fact that we are to put our hope in him for today as well. He is here next to you today. Put your hope in Him, not the prospect of a better tomorrow. He is here with you, an ever present help in times of trouble. And when you feel like you are sinking He “immediately reaches out”.
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…” Hebrews 6:19
Grab hold. Anchor your eyes on Him today in the here and now. You can have fullness of life no matter the weather. Storms or no storms. Life and joy and peace are already yours in Him. He himself is Hope. Hope you can hold in any storm. Like an anchor of solid gold.