In a large place the Lord hath set me,
In my distress he heard my cry;
I will not fear; the Lord is with me,
What can man do, when God is nigh?
The Lord is chief among my helpers;
And I shall see my foes o’erthrown:
Far better than in man or princes,
My trust I place in God alone.
~from Psalm 118, in meter
This would probably be the appropriate time to explain that we are not superstitious.
1. An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.
2. a. A belief, practice, or rite irrationally maintained by ignorance of the laws of nature or by faith in magic or chance.
b. A fearful or abject state of mind resulting from such ignorance or irrationality.
God is not another word for magic or chance.
He is not a two-dimensional idol, made up out of thin air and wishful thinking, to reflect our own selves back to us.
We reject the underlying falseness that fashions this kind of idol, names it God, then proceeds to act as any superstitious idol-worshiper acts.
We reject the underlying falseness that the true and living God needs us to twist His arm, bargain with Him, prove ourselves to Him, manipulate Him, appease Him, buy our way into His favor, or in any other way act on Him in order to get Him to do what we think He should do.
He is not an arcade game. Put in your money and follow the rules to win!
On the other hand, we are not cynical.
1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.
2. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act.
We do not believe in fate, either blind or seeing.
We do not believe that the power of people trumps the power of God.
We do believe that He has ordained prayer as one of the means through which He often chooses to work, as well as through other work He gives us to do.
With all the grace that God has poured into us since before we were formed in our mother’s wombs, there is no appropriate place in our lives for hardness of heart, cynicism, resentment, hopelessness, bitterness, or even ungraciousness, either toward any human beings or toward God.
We do not believe that He plays dumb mind games with His people, or tricks us, or teases us.
We believe that He can be trusted to be good and to do good. His very nature defines good, because He is good.
We believe this is true even when He brings us pain.
This week I had to take many superstitious and cynical thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. They had to be stopped in their tracks with the revealed Truth. It was a fight as ugly as strong-willed self, but Truth won out.
And today I am encouraged by one single line in one prayer spoken by one of the brothers. He said, “You not only created all things, but You are their sustainer.”
God is not like us. He’s not a bigger, stronger version of us. He is wholly other in His being.
He is not stymied or even mildly worried for us today.
He is not up there brainstorming for us this weekend. He isn’t working hard on a strategy to get these two sides to come to a satisfactory agreement. He isn’t hoping against hope that He doesn’t have to ditch Plan A for Plan B. This week’s events are His plan.
God is acting, not reacting.
He will not miss any detail to attend to the big picture, or miss the big picture to attend to any detail. He can do more than one thing at a time. He isn’t forced to let things slide in one direction so that He can focus in another direction. He can perfectly accomplish everything that He has decided will be accomplished, according to His specifications. Just in this one story, He is right now carrying out His purposes from small to great. He is not only working His perfect will in my strong-willed self, but also in my husband’s life, our marriage, the lives of each of our children, our family as a whole, Katie’s life, the other children in the orphanage, the orphanage director, caregivers, babas, volunteers, our attorney and her team, every authority and influence over this adoption process, and every onlooker, whether believer or unbeliever, whether He is acknowledged or unacknowledged, worshiped or spurned.
Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us. But even if He does not, we will not bow down nor worship these false gods.
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.”