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« Another Story about Nothing | Main | Accident Prone »

Nothing is Not Happening

house105.jpgRight. It’s a double negative, which means it’s positive. It’s a little catchier than saying “something is happening,” don’t you think? I’m trying to emphasize the fact that we often lose our sense of motion or activity around us. We think little or nothing is happening. Not true. While you are sitting here reading this article, the meter is running, the clock is ticking. You are breathing. Your bodily metabolism moves forward in full operation, you are burning calories and keeping your temperature at 98.6 degrees. Your house is not just sitting there doing nothing. Your hot water tank is on. Your refrigerator is running. Your sump pump may be pumping water out of your basement. (If not, water may be pouring into your basement!) Your financial accounts may either be gaining or losing. Your house is appreciating; your car is depreciating. Your kids (or grandkids) are getting bigger. You may be getting bigger too, but you definitely are getting closer to your next birthday, which means the aging process is coming along nicely. In other words, whether you are thinking about it or not, life goes on.

Inside our bodies, while we stumble on oblivious to the steady drum beat, we process food, fight bacteria, secrete hormones, extract oxygen from the air, pump blood through our circulatory system and carry on the myriad iterations of life. Outside, the weather changes, the grass grows, subterranean creatures burrow their way around your yard and nature’s orchestra plays on. On the home front, tiny granules fall off the shingles of your roof, although it may take fifteen years for you to notice. Spiders spin webs in out-of-the-way places. Metal rusts, paint fades, concrete cracks and your house settles. No, nothing is definitely not happening.

Too often, we miss the torrid pace of activity around us and the big picture never develops. If anticipated events do not materialize before our eyes, we lose our composure and we panic. The real crisis here is not mere unprocessed information, but the tragic misunderstanding of the nature of the beast. Strategic battles have been lost because military commanders were clueless about the bigger theatre of the war. They saw their little window of opportunity, but failed to account for other critical factors that didn’t show up on their small radar screen. Millions of stockholders have lost fortunes over the years because they did not perceive all the forces that impinged on the market. Financial myopia led them to jump rather than wait it out. Mindless impatience has probably led to more wasted time, more successes forfeited and more souls to perish than any other factor. Patience is not just waiting; it is informed waiting.

In our fleshly nature, we are creatures of senses. We want to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it or taste it before we will validate it. If we cannot personally account for the details, we tend to discount the reality of a situation. This shortcoming in our spiritual character causes us to doubt the hand of God. We often continue to agonize in prayer when we ought to rejoice in victory. We mire down in depression when we ought to mount up in celebration. Our spiritual tunnel vision convinces us that “nothing is happening,” but the panorama shows God engaged in a flurry of activity. We need to stop insisting that God process everything through our pitifully slow and limited computers before we accept it as true. We can improve our performance, but it calls for several things to be kept in mind:

Perspective : Only a narrow slice of life reveals itself to us at a time. Understand that we cannot possibly see what, when and how everyone else sees the same thing we may be viewing at the present time. Joseph’s view from the slave caravan, from Potiphar’s house, from his prison cell and from his palace office differed greatly from anything his brothers saw. You may have to wait until the debriefing to know what really happened in the lives of others.

Perception : The things you do see may not make sense to you. Don’t panic. Many things happen at microbial, intellectual and spiritual levels, imperceptible to the eye. Had Simon Peter demanded to know see all the evidence before he went to Cornelius’ house, the Gentile door may never have been opened.

Patience : For many events, a long build-up is necessary before a breakthrough. In the space shuttle program, from the drawing boards to the launch site takes years; from lift-off to orbit takes minutes.

Purpose : God times events to coincide with his will. The timing of his incarnation fit his specific plan. “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son…” The outpouring of the Holy Ghost was timed. “When the day of Pentecost was fully come…” If we have eyes only for our will, the will of God may baffle, or even anger us. Frustration in God’s work usually means we are out of step with God’s will.

Don’t misinterpret stuff that happens to be bad instead of good. If God is in charge, it will all work together for good. “All things work together for good to them who love God…” Something is happening, and if you’re living for God, it is something good.

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