Frequently, our most pressing need is not our most important need. Sometimes God works in unsuspecting ways, maybe ways we did not perceive or even want. Ironically, His ways can seem foolish to the natural mind, as well as the spiritual mind.
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The primary idea in view here is, who do you want to be in control of your life’s narrative? The humblest and wisest thing for any of us to do is to submit full creative control of our life’s story to the Lord. On the surface, this makes sense to the Christian. But as they say, it’s easier said than done.
Who Is Your Author?
Have you submitted full creative control of your narrative to Christ? Before you can submit your story to Him, you must come to terms with the foolishness of God (1 Corinthians 1:25), a critical understanding of the gospel. Paul talked about how the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9
From a ground-level view of life, it is hard to see what we truly need or how the thing that will save us is not what we believe initially (John 3:14). In Mark 2:1-12 we read the story of the person with paralysis being let down from the roof so Jesus could heal him.
After his friends placed him before Jesus for healing, what he received was forgiveness from his sins rather than a cure for the body. Being forgiven is not what he, or the four men who let him down from the roof, wanted. Everyone in the room except for Christ was thinking about his physical need.
It was apparent, and anyone who was close to him knew what Christ needed to do. There was only one person in the world who saw things differently, which reminds me of the death of Lazarus (John 11:6).
Mary and Martha assessed the situation and brought the need of the hour to Christ. It was Christ who was seemingly out of sync with what needed to happen next. The text says Jesus was glad Lazarus was dead, which was the perfect context for Him to magnify the works of His Father.
Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake, I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” – John 11:14-15
When the paralytic man’s friend confronted Jesus with what needed to happen, Jesus did something no one expected. He saved him from his sins. And the crowd was disappointed.
My Want – His Plan
Have you ever been disappointed when the Lord did not meet your expectations? I remember talking to a disappointed wife a few years ago, who wanted her husband to treat her better than what he had been doing.
I agreed with her. By her husband’s admission, he was a jerk who realized that he needed to change his behavior. The problem was that he had no desire to improve himself or his marriage. He was okay with how things were.
But his life choices were not the only thing that was wrong with them. Through counseling, it became apparent there were other issues that both of them needed to address. It also appeared the Lord was using personal suffering as a means to bring them to a clear understanding of the real problems and a better place in their relationship.
I began to explain these things to the wife, to which she responded, “I do not care about what the Lord may be doing in our lives. I want my husband to be nice.”
I fully understand what she was saying. I would love for all the sin to disappear. I’ve often thought about how great it would be if my brothers were alive, rather than two folks murdering them. We all have many sad points in our lives as we take that backward glance.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
God did not promise the removal of every thorn in our lives, but He did promise a Savior who would ultimately conquer all the thorns that can hurt us (Genesis 3:18). God did not guarantee a danger-free life, but He promised a redeemed life to anyone who wants it.
Do you believe God is about to save you (Romans 8:31)? That is the more important question. That is, ultimately, your biggest need. Of course, we know that God is on our side because He gave His Son to forgive us from our sins (Romans 8:32-34).
In Mark 2:10-12 they did not know about God’s power, and how it could save them (Romans 1:16) so He went further than just forgiving the person with paralysis of his sins. He proved He had authority to forgive sins by the miracle He performed.
“Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” – Mark 2:8-11
And we know, Christ has all authority over our lives by the miracle of the resurrection (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). They saw and experienced the power of God by this man’s healing, and we have experienced the power of God through the resurrection.
This tension is where we must guard our hearts: His resurrection does not solve all the ills in our world, but it does address the most critical problem in your life, which is unbelief: you can experience forgiveness from God.
You are not promised your best life now, but you are guaranteed eternal safety through the gospel. There are two things we can learn from this:
- God will heal you of the greatest need in your life, which is your need for forgiveness.
- God will not necessarily remove everything from your life that discourages you.
Call to Action
- Has the Lord resolved your greatest need in life through the gospel-work of Christ?
- How are you stewarding your other disappointments in life–the things that are not going according to your plans?
- Have you elevated any of your desires to the most primary need in your life by making them non-negotiable “terms of association” with God?
We can sing I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold, but it is when our life becomes tarnished that the truth of the gospel must ring true in our hearts. This truth is where the end of Hebrews eleven bolsters my faith while making the things of this world dim in comparison.
Dear Child of God,
You may not receive everything you want, but there is one thing that you must possess, and that is the forgiveness of sins. Christ has proven Himself to be a worthy Savior by the miracle at the tomb. Will you trust Him–not just for the redemption of your soul, but for the narrative that He is writing into your life?
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – 1 Corinthians 1:22-25An Appeal from a Former Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastor Three Mind Maps on How to Change Your Thought Life »