Friday, May 4, 2012

Chasing the wind

Last night I made a comment on Facebook.  I’ve been better about these type of comments, learning to think before I type.  During Lent, I disciplined myself to say only positive and thankful things on Facebook.  But I slipped last night.  Maybe it was a good thing.  Comments reminded me that my status updates are read and understood as well as misunderstood.  I realized the power and the foolishness of my words.  I also began to realize the root of the comment.

No one likes to realize that they are sinning.  Nevertheless, we all do it, don’t we?  As I pondered my comment, I realized that I had broken the 10th Commandment – sounds really serious, doesn’t it?  Perhaps I should get some sackcloth and ashes.  This blog is my virtual sackcloth.

The 10th Commandment is that one about coveting.  I looked up the word covet and its meaning isn’t all negative.  Covet means both to wish longingly for something.  It can also mean envy.  My comment on Facebook last night was all about coveting.  It came from the frustration of my heart.  It came from the frustration of unfulfilled dreams.  It came from a sense of being rejected.  It came from a sense of hopelessness.  It came from asking the destructive question, why not me? 

I am frustrated.  I am wondering why not me.  I am feeling a bit hopeless.  My husband hears it the most.  His reply is always – it’s all God.  That’s too simple an answer for me.  That brings up all the endless questions of “theodicy.”  Since Job, we have pondered why?  My husband’s answer makes me ask if God is mean.  It makes me ask if God just doesn’t like me.  Am I some rejected step-child rather than His beloved child? 

As I pondered my sin this morning, I asked why this is sin?  I don’t know.  The older I get, the more I realize I don’t know is the best answer.  Nevertheless, my thoughts went to the issue of forgiveness.  So often, and rightly so, we are reminded that forgiveness is not about the other person.  It is about us.  
Unforgiveness eats away at the soul of the person harboring those feelings against another.  It shortens your life by stripping your joy.  Revenge is its food but never truly nourishes the soul.  It is likewise with coveting.  It hurts me.  Those I covet go on their merry way with their life, while I sit destroyed, further being robbed of hope and joy.

This morning I read the book of Ecclesiastes.  You should too.  It won’t take you long.  It puts life in perspective.  As I read its overall depressing themes, my heart begged for hope and resolution.  Everything is meaningless writes Qoheleth.  Everything is a chasing of the wind.  Fearing God and enjoying life seems to be the prescription to avoid chasing the wind.  It sort of reminds me of the serenity prayer – accepting the things I cannot change, changing what I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

There is no room for coveting if one wants to enjoy life.  My days are getting shorter.  I have less years ahead of me than of those behind me.  I cannot change how God blesses others.  I can only receive and enjoy what blessings God choses to give to me.  I’ve prepared the best I know how to answer His call and purposes – if He chooses to not allow me to serve Him with my gifts, there is nothing I can do about it.  That brings tears to my eyes.  But it changes nothing.  To try to change it is chasing after the wind.

As I pondered Qoheleth, I came across this quote:
As I sit here reading yet another book, desperately continuing to search You out God, I read about the many who are “famous” in their service of You.  While I attempt to live a life pleasing and worthy of You, I have a twinge of jealousy in my heart because I too want to be that kind of faithful servant – famously faithful.  I also fear that fame, that it is an in itself, a desire leading to destruction.  But, my yearn to do Your will is consuming so, somehow I must no care if anyone but You know that I serve You well.  All I can do is pray that I have the faith to endeavor to serve well, to pray that I am serving well, and hope that I may be anonymously famous, even to myself. (Anonymously Famous,
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.