It’s Strike Season in South Africa.
Industrial strikes have erupted across the nation as workers down their tools and stop their work to demand higher wages, better working conditions, and other concessions from their employers. Mining, construction, airline, automotive and airline industries have been affected. South African postal workers have also gone on strike. Thousands of South African workers are expressing their dissatisfaction with their current work conditions and asking for something better.
Now that another postal strike has hit, John and I know that any mail we were expecting from the States will be delayed. Since it normally takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks to receive mail from the States, a postal strike means that time frame becomes 6-10 weeks depending upon how long this current strike will last.
Today, when I read my trust verse for the day, I contemplated this strike concept.
I wonder how many of us have ever gone on strike against our God; demanding some kind of favor, some kind of improvement in our living/health/work conditions, or some kind of concession. I wonder if we have ever protested against the way things are and wanted something else and expected God to do something about it.
In addition to that thought, I wonder how many of us have ever believed that our God is withholding something good from us.
The concluding words of Psalm 84 address this kind of thinking…
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD bestows favor and honor;
No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. Psalm 84: 11-12 NIV
This is about a trust walk.
This is about believing that our God has our back and ultimately has our best interests at heart; even when things don’t happen as fast as we want them to or may never materialize at all. Or when something happens that devastates us…will we still believe that our God loves and cares for us and has our best interests at heart?
I know what it’s like to pray for something, to wait for something and to yearn for something for years.
I know what it’s like to have something blow up in front of my eyes and wonder what in the world was happening.
I know what it’s like to have something given to me that wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
I know what it’s like to have-thing-after-thing-after-thing go wrong.
In times such as these, I need to remember that my God is both the center of my worship and my praise and my defense and protection from harm. My God generously pours His mercy, grace, favor and love upon me. He isn’t withholding anything from me. In fact, as I understand the word ‘blessed,’ my God is guiding, me and helping me progress through this life with all of its challenges, difficulties, opposition and sadness upon a path of blessing as I continue to trust Him.
Like I said, I am on a life long trust walk with my God.
It is not hard to trust my God when things are going well and I haven’t really been stretched in the ‘trusting God’ way of life. What do I mean? Well, to be honest, is it that difficult to trust God when I do everything possible to keep my life safe and secure on my terms? I keep things under my control. I seek the people, the places and events in life that serve my family and me that keeps me comfortable and at ease.
However, living a comfortable and safe life doesn’t necessarily mean I am blessed, does it?
Psalm 84: 12 is clear:
O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
I am blessed when I trust in my God.
I am blessed when I don’t get what I want because I trust my God to provide what I most need.
I am blessed when things don’t turn out the way I expect them to because I trust my God to provide me with the peace and acceptance I’ll need to keep going.
I am blessed when things blow up in my face because I trust my God to redeem what has been lost.
I am blessed when I fail because I trust my God to help me begin again.
Here’s the deal. If we expect to find comfort, security and joy solely in the people, places and events of our life circumstances, we’ll be in danger of going on strike against our God. Our anger and discouragement may lead to disappointment and frustration with God. For when these people and things do not produce the level of satisfaction we demand, we may hold God responsible and ask for something on our terms. Rather than remembering our God is our sun and shield, upon which we revolve, we want our God to orbit around us and respond to our wishes and demands.
Trusting in God does not mean that I will always receive what I want or when I want it.
Trusting in God means that I will follow my God step by step by step wherever He guides me; to a place of blessing and joy that in some ways may be difficult to envision or comprehend while still on this earth. The promise remains nonetheless.
A blessed life is offered to you and to me as we choose to ruthlessly trust in our God in spite of every earthly thing that begs the contrary. We choose something that we do not see, but we know is there. We choose to trust a God who has our back.
Photo from Pan-African Newswire of Flickr