I lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me.Daniel 4:34
We have been having one of those ‘where the rubber meets the road’ kind of seasons. A time when all the wonderful ideas and truths we pride ourselves on believing need to be demonstrated with some action on our part.
I have to say, I feel rather squirmy about it. We are truly creatures of habit and comfort, and nothing reminds us of that fact faster than a little shaking up of our own agendas. Put simply, it just stinks when things don’t go the way we wanted them to go.
We can lay our plans and plot our course, but sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s easy to see it happen to other people and say things like “Oh well, you’ll be fine! Just pray about it!” and go on about our day. As long as nothing messes with our little world, it’s easy to do.
We all have our special things that we cling to that give us our sense of pride or belonging. For some it’s work. Losing a job can feel like losing one’s purpose and identity. In our children’s world, much emphasis is placed on extracurricular activities and sports.
My husband lost his job of nearly 15 years recently. One kid barely missed the cut for the baseball team. One is currently sidelined before the season starts with an injury. The schedules we thought we’d be juggling have really cleared out.
And it makes me crazy, uncomfortable and quite frankly, kind of nutty at times. The enemy loves to stir us up and make us feel like we are really missing out. But that isn’t the truth at all. So we preach to ourselves:
“God has a plan! Trust Him! His timing is perfect!”
And the words ring hollow because we have a hard time pushing through this uncomfortable part of the story. It hurts and we feel left behind. But we must not stop pushing through.
King Nebuchadnezzar thought he had it all worked out. He boasted mightily in his own plans and refused to submit his own kingdom to the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, his pride led him right into insanity. He walked around with the beasts of the field for a year like a crazy person.
It was when he finally lifted his eyes to heaven that his understanding was restored. Some versions use the word “sanity”, which I love. God restored the man’s sanity when he surrendered and looked up.
We have spent our fair share of time asking why, dealing with injustice, and general frustration at our circumstances. God is patient. We have to remember where our sanity lies and where understanding dwells: in Jesus alone.
We still can be fruitful in times of drought. Our roots are not shallow, and we can survive these seasons of uncertainty and disappointment because our joy isn’t dependent on any worldly achievement.
It’s easier said than done at times, for sure, but Jesus offers a consistency that we won’t find in the world. Things can be taken away in the blink of an eye. His faithfulness and promises are here to stay.
So we lift our eyes up, and in doing so we embrace the only real sanity and understanding that exists. God isn’t playing any cosmic games with us, He gives freely and wants us to take comfort in the things that are real. We think jobs and achievements are what matters, and when things are running smoothly in those areas, it’s easy to hold them up as the banner of our lives.
But what if they go away for a season? Would we be like the prideful king who couldn’t let his little kingdom go? Holding little idols is a recipe for disaster. Jesus is consistent. He is never-failing. Never changing.
We are learning (not very gracefully at times) to hold everything loosely save for Jesus. Cling to Him. Yoke up with Him. Don’t go looking for your sanity in a crazy world… look up.