Where Do You Fit In God’s Story?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5,6

I love hearing a good story, don’t you?  I especially love listening to the stories of Believers who talk about God’s impact on their lives.   As a counselor, I consider it a privilege to listen as clients talk about their lives and why they are seeking help.   As I listen I pray, asking God for insight into where they see themselves fitting into His Story.   To help them begin to look at their lives before God, we almost always (probably 90% of first-time Clients) start in Jeremiah 17:5-10:

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;

they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

You may rightly ask, “Why begin in Jeremiah 17?”  Because of the simple way the passage demonstrates how our stories (as well as our perceptions) are impacted by where we place our trust.   Living in a fast paced, oft times overwhelming and opinionated world that urges us to, “Live for the moment” and “Follow your heart!” , it is easy to lose sight of God.  The beauty of the passage in Jeremiah is how God simplifies our approach to life as He breaks down how the life decisions we make are influenced by what motivates our hearts:

  1. “Cursed is the one who trusts in man . . . .” (Vs 5-6)
  2. .“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord . . . .”  (Vs 7-8)
  3. “The heart is deceitful above all things . . . .”  (Referring to “self”–vs 9-10)

Having battled depression at various times in my life, I am always struck by the painfully accurate picture of depression given in Jeremiah::

“Cursed . . .
not seeing prosperity when it comes . . .
parched  . . .
alone.”  

The deeper the depression, the more negatively skewed our perceptions become.

Sometimes however, our distance from God is not so dramatic and we may not be aware that there is a gap between ourselves and God.  It can happen when we focus on the “if onlys”  that we think would fix our lives:  “If only I had . . . I would be happy” or “If only she/he was  . . . then life would be perfect.”  To look ti an “if only” is to serve a lie and to distance ourselves from God.

  • Jeremiah continues talking about making choices in verses 7,8:But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
    whose confidence is in Him.
    He will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
    It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
    It has no worries in a year of drought 
    and never fails to bear fruit.”
    What a contrast!  From a cursed lonely existence to full lives of blessing and confidence in the faithfulness of a loving God.   One of the things that I love in this piece is the way God tells us that even as trouble continues to be part of life on this earth, the faithful provision God as our Shepherd will sustain and shelter us through the storms of life.
  • The last piece of the passage is often puzzling to many who read it for the first time:The  heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?  “
    I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,
    to reward a man according to his conduct,
    according to what his deeds deserve.”
    I will always remember one of my first clients reading verse 9 for me.  She stopped reading mid-sentence like she’d been stung by a bee.  As she lifted her head and looked at me with her huge brown eyes she exclaimed, “But I thought we were supposed to follow our hearts!'”  Certainly that is what our culture teaches, but the Scriptures are clear–only our Creator is worthy of our trust.   To follow your heart is to court disaster at many levels.

The question Jeremiah challenges us with boils down to choices.  Will you serve the whims of men?  God? Or yourself?  How you answer that question will impact where you fit into God’s Story.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and faithful in all He does.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him,
but all the wicked He will destroy.”
Psalm 145:17-20

.  All to His Glory!

 

5 thoughts on “Where Do You Fit In God’s Story?

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