Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hypochondriac Therapy

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3

I get a few secular magazines in the mail: Reader's Digest and the Ladies  Home Journal for two (don't make fun). For the most part, I really enjoy them. They are light reading and a break from my usual fare.   But, one thing I've come to recognize (despite the overwhelming drug advertisements) is the article in each issue, posing the "health" question.  They usually go something like this, "Do You Have Skin Cancer?" "What Does That Cramping Stomach Mean?"  "How to Tell If You'll Get [fill in the blank]." And the questions go on and on and on, leading us all to find our hypochondriac within.  I don't know about you, but I don't need any help there. Ever since I was a child, I've seen disease outbreaks on TV and worried for days that I was going to get it.  Fighting fear of health has always been a struggle for me.  I hate being sick, and terminal illness makes me quiver.

But ultimately, at the center of my fear is an idol.  I idolize health and ease more than God's purposes, more than His mighty capabilities.  I tell myself, stay safe, stay healthy, and just avoid anything that could jeopardize either. 
Not a good mentality to have.

Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear. -- Corrie Ten Boom

But what if our center was HIM? The Son of God! What if instead of focusing on my fear, I turned my gaze to Him.  God, you are all-mighty, all-powerful, beyond weakness, beyond fatigue.  You never grow weary, you never fear, or doubt, or misunderstand.  Nothing is beyond your control.  You hold all things together. By your power, we live and move and breathe.

Now, please go with me here for a second and don't label me a heretic just yet.
My husband and I watched the latest Thor movie earlier this week.  After the movie, I had this "hmmm..." moment.  Yes, Thor is not eternal, all-powerful, all-good, all-loving, or even close to comparing to the One and Only (there is no other beside our GOD), but... but, what would happen if more Christians started seeing our God as more like this:

and less like this:

Now please hear my heart: I am not trying to blaspheme God.  I am merely trying to shake up the pictures we put in our heads about who God is.  Recognizing his role as the suffering servant, I still want to grasp that Jesus himself was GOD. He wasn't weak, incapable, or insufficient in any capacity.  He came to die, a willing sacrifice in atonement for our sinful state.  But don't by any means think that He couldn't have been exactly what the Jews wanted Him to be.  He was more than capable of annihilating the whole Roman empire with a mere breath.

Yes, Thor is a mythological god played by a sinful, fallen man.  He isn't real, and even in his imagined state, Thor won't live forever, won't conquer every evil and still needs help from time to time.

But not our God.  He doesn't need help.  He doesn't have a weakness.  He is the GREAT I AM.  At that truth, we all should quiver... and tremble at Him.  Understanding and fearing the Lord for who He is helps us to recognize everything else for what it is.

BUT, if we fail to see Him that way, for who He really is, how our fears can grow to unbelievable proportions and we start to believe the lie, "You are on your own with this one.  God can't really help you here." 

"I am the Lord. Is there anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:27 AMP)
"I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you." (Hebrews 13:5 TM)
"God is my rock, my salvation, my fortress, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 62:6 NIV)
 "Be strong and courageous. Be not dismayed or afraid for there is with us our God to help us." (2 Chronicles 32:7,8 AMP)
“The smaller you get—the smaller life makes you—the easier it is to see the grandeur of grace. While I am far more incapable than I may have initially thought, God is infinitely more capable than I ever hoped.” 

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