...the Lord...You alone are the Most High… Psalm 83:18
The bullets were dancing all around a certain soldier as he dove into the nearest foxhole. Finding that the hole wasn't very deep, he took his helmet and started digging for all he was worth to give himself a few more inches of cover. Suddenly, he stuck a metallic object. He felt with his fingers and carefully pried loose a metal object made of sterling silver. It was a crucifix left behind by the soldier who had been the previous occupant of the foxhole.
In a moment another occupant dove into the foxhole. It was a chaplain. "Boy, am I glad to see you," said the soldier. Holding up the crucifix, he asked, "How do you work this thing?"
"How do you work this thing?" We smile at the humor, but it underlines an important fact about life today. We spend most of our lives trying to "work God" or blame Him for things not working when we think He has shortchanged us.
I've received a growing number of letters which have not only puzzled me but have also caused me real concern. People are disappointed, yes, even angry with God because they feel that God didn't come through when they expected Him to deliver. The person didn't get the job he or she expected. The big contract went to a competitor. The writer prayed and yet a marriage failed.
How do we work God, anyway? Are people actually left out because they don't know the right formula? They don't know the right words? Are they going to the wrong church? Or not putting enough money in the plate when it passes? Don't they have enough righteousness to motivate God to sit up and take notice of all the good things they are doing?
What's wrong, anyway? What is wrong is that we are about 180 degrees out of kilter! And what does that mean? Let me ask, "Was God created for our benefit? Or is it the other way around?"
A number of years ago a group of godly men met together and over a period of years formulated an understanding of who God is and what our relationship to Him should be. The document is known today as the Westminster Confession of Faith. One of the first articles in this document is the confession that man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever. Enjoy God? Is that different from "working God?" Totally different!
When I glorify God, He's the center of attention. Understanding that He is righteous and holy and that I am a sinner brings me to an understanding of why I need God's grace and favor, and knowing that, I experience forgiveness and cleansing which results in my enjoyment of life in a new measure.
My son is one of those individuals who enjoys scaling the face of a cliff instead of working up the trail. As a mountain climber, Steve understands that certain things are vitally necessary both for safety and success, and one of them is the ability to stay focused. When our focus is upon Him, we can move up the face of the cliff one step at a time.
When I choose to glorify God by recognizing Him as Sovereign and Lord, I cease working God and allow Him to work in my life – which brings the joy that makes for real happiness. Recognizing who He is and understanding that my relationship to Him is that of His humble subject makes it very clear that He is Lord, not I, and that He deserves my glory, adoration and worship.
The soldier in the foxhole who wanted to make the crucifix work isn't much different from a lot of people who are still interested in getting God to see things their way. And that, friend, never works. Think about it.
Resource reading: John 17:1-26