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Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Lord is With You

If you had absolute assurance that "the Lord was with you," how would your coming week be affected? What fears would dissipate? What new mission would you take on? What old habits would you break? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p. 456).

The assurance that "the Lord is with me" would ironically set the fantasies of the flesh free. My first stop might be at my stockbroker. I would be buying fast and loose. Next stop would be to the lotto counter at 7-11. I would buy 20 tickets knowing that one of them would surely win the jackpot. Thus assured that God is with me financially, I would go to a new car dealership and get a sporty convertible. I would stop by my job and turn in my resignation. Using my credit card, I would buy tickets for a fantastic world tour. At this point I may decide to indulge in a new romance with a hot chick. Yes, having "the Lord with me" would be a great thing.

A moment's reflection brings to light an obvious observation: having "the Lord with you" has little or nothing to do with conventional ideas of worldly success. It is worth considering that the person closest to his heavenly Father, namely Jesus, was crucified. Having God with you is most fundamentally the gift of having abiding faith in God and in his principles of love. No matter how discouraging the circumstances, with God abiding with us we have deep assurance that acts based on the principles of love in the long run (if not in the short run) will find acceptance and success in the measurements of God. In this sense, having "the Lord with you" is the gateway to a living faith and resultant acts that are always in the end redemptive.

This can affect us in several ways. Short-term failures become less important than long-term successes. We put our trust in this even if we personally do not live to see the full fulfillment of eternal promises. Thus immediate fears become less powerful than the fears of long-term failure and the failure to find meaning in life through alliance with a living God of love. With this long-term focus our everyday actions are seen in a new light. In a sense, we replace short-term worldly fears of failure with a fear of an ultimate far more important fundamental failure. Such a perspective gives us an abiding new vision of our daily mission in life. Everything is seen in a much broader context. This gives us a deep sense of assurance and steadiness that is simply not possible when our focus is on the minutia of life. Old habits become much less dear to us. Fresh objectives give us freedom to transcend the past. Thus, "knowing that the Lord is with us" decisively expands the depth and breadth of our perception. "Worldly fears" become decisively less operative in our lives. We have confidence in knowing that short-term failures should they occur (and they often do not since principles of love are essentially more realistic) will be eternally redeemed if our actions are in the will of God.

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