How The Meek Inherit The Earth (Now)

girl meek at peace enjoying outside

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

—Matthew 5:5

We cannot see the world as God means it in the future, save as our souls are characterized by meekness. In meekness, we are its only inheritors. Meekness alone makes the spiritual retina pure to receive God’s things as they are, mingling with them neither imperfection nor impurity.  

—George MacDonald

What did Jesus mean when He promised that the meek would “inherit the land”?

It must include heaven: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells,” (2 Peter 3:13). But as I research the last chapters of the meekness book, I’m starting to see that the inheritance starts here and now.

Here are three ways the meek may inherit this present earth.

1. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy what they have. 

This side of heaven, we may have little. But it is still the abundant life that Jesus came to bring (John 10:10). Matthew Henry explained that the meek, “inherit the earth in that they are sure to have as much of it as is good for them: as much as will serve to bear them through this world to a better; and who would covet more? Enough is as good as a feast.” 

To the meek, everyday mercies appear as wonders. The sunset and the rain, the laughter of a child and the breeze on your face, good sleep and sweet tastes—to receive these with wonder is part of the inheriting promise of meekness. The meek have that “pure spiritual retina” that allows them “to receive God’s things as they are.” They are not blind to God’s gifts. Thus, as Matthew Henry wrote, they “have the most comfortable, undisturbed enjoyment of themselves, their friends, their God.” They trace the Father’s hand in the common grace that others take for granted. 

The meek man is thankful, happy, and content, and it is contentment that makes life enjoyable,” C.H. Spurgeon wrote that in a sermon on the meek. Then he told this story,

Here comes a man home to his dinner; he bows his head, and says, “Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful,” then opens his eyes, and grumbles, “What! Cold mutton again?” His spirit is very different from that of the good old Christian who, when he reached home, found two herrings and two or three potatoes on the table, and pronounced over them this blessing, ‘Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have ransacked both earth and sea to find us this food.’ His dinner was not as good as the other man’s, but he was content with it, and that made it better. 

The meek soul is pleased with whatever God is pleased to give. We inherit the earth as we learn to say, What pleases God must not displease me. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy what they have.

The meek man is thankful, happy, and content, and it is contentment that makes life enjoyable.

C.H. Spurgeon

2. The meek inherit the earth when they enjoy even what they do not own. 

I enjoy gardens and pools and boats. But, apart from a few patches of shade-loving flowers, I don’t own any of them. Yet I relish summertime in my parents’ huge gardens, my friend’s ski boat, and another friend’s pool. I don’t own the garden, pool, or boat. But I enjoy them.

Izaak Walton lived in 16th-century England and wrote,  

I could sit there quietly, and look at the waters and see fishes leaping at flies of several shapes and colors. Looking down the meadows, I could see a boy gathering lilies and and a girl cropping columbines and cowslips […] As I thus sat, enjoying my own happy condition, I did remember what my Saviour said, that the meek inherit the earth.

This kind of enjoyment is not mooching. It is humble, thankful meekness. I borrow again from Spurgeon,

Even the possessions of other men make these people glad. They are like the man who met a mandarin in China covered with jewels, and, bowing to him, said, “Thank you for those jewels.” Doing this many times, at last the mandarin asked the cause of his gratitude. “Well,” said the poor but wise man, “I thank you that you have those jewels, for I have as good a sight of them as you have; but I have not the trouble of wearing them, putting them on in the morning, taking them off at night, and having a watchman keeping guard over them when I am asleep. I thank you for them; they are as much use to me as they are to you.

The meek inherit the earth when they freely enjoy what they don’t own. 

3. The meek inherit the earth when they not only enjoy whatever they have and what others have, but when they are glad that others have been given the gifts they have.

The meek take pleasure in God’s gifts to others. When we learn to rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15a) we have a constant source of joy. Admittedly, to celebrate a friend’s marriage or pregnancy, when you’d love to be married or pregnant is supernatural. To rejoice with a friend who landed your dream job or the book contract you’ve worked for is meek. It is a gift of God. To celebrate like this is, in one word, to DIGLI

I’ll explain DIGLI in a minute. But first, do you remember the parable of the vineyard owner? He hired workers at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. Then he gave them all the same exact pay. It’s in Matthew 20 verses 10 through 15, and here’s how it ends: 

Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

We read how the guys who worked twelve hours got the same amount as those who worked one hour, and naturally we’re stunned. Really, Jesus? That seems so unfair!

But wise parents and teachers tell their kids, Fair isn’t equal. It’s getting what you need. In His wisdom, God deemed that those vastly unequal hourly rates were exactly right, because, as author Lief Enger wrote, Fair is whatever God wants to do. 

Jesus Did Not Say, “The Envious Will Inherit The Earth”

The parable helps us understand what theologian and author Joe Rigney meant when he said, “God loves inequality…In terms of gifts, talents, abilities, opportunities, blessings, God is unequally lavish, at least according to our standards, and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” 

Contrary to popular opinion, inequality of gifts does not need a fix. Author Dorothy Sayers wrote, “Envy is the great leveler.” It opposes meekness and it always levels down. Envy would have us lower the blessing bar to the lowest common denominator. If I can’t make a six-figure income, you shouldn’t either. If my kid can’t be a champ, yours shouldn’t be either. This is not meek. The envious will not inherit the earth. 

Which brings us back to the meek who inherit this present earth as they DIGLI. I coined the term in the midst of my own struggle to put on meekness and put off envy and discontent (Colossians 3:5-13). I needed a word to express that generous, free state of heart. Hence, DIGLI, an acronym for “delight in God’s lavish inequality.” Clearly this is not a natural dance or stance. Only the meek can DIGLI. 

Discontent spreads when we begrudge God’s generosity to others. But the meek trust that God is giving us exactly what we need to conform us to the image of Christ—even if it doesn’t make sense now. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). The meek believe this.

When her grandkids compare then complain, my mom will say, “Stay in your own lane.” The meek train themselves to run life’s race in their own lane. They learn to trust God to give whatever is good, even when it doesn’t seem fair. 

By grace, the meek train themselves to place all things in God’s hands and then find that God places all things back into their hands. And if we have eyes to see, that delightful exchange might just start now.

Christian meekness cools the heat of passion. Meekness of spirit not only fits us for communion with God—but for civil converse with men; and thus among all the graces it holds first place.  

—Thomas Watson

Not Mine To Hold: Lots, Portions & The Gift of Letting Go

Would you rather listen than read? Great! Here’s the link to the Keep On With Abigail Wallace podcast.

I’m not good at letting go. Sometimes I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. For better and for worse, I am the bee—the busy bee that won’t rest until it extracts sweet nectar from every flower. I look for the good.

But I am also the frantically, futilely buzzing bee,*

That booms against the window-pane for hours

Thinking that the way to reach the laden flowers.

Yes, for better and worse, I am that bee. I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. I’m not good at letting go.

Triggers and Portions

This May everything triggers me. Because this spring more of my long-term, sweet parenting dreams have been dashed. Which means every graduation picture, academic award, and smiling family is a trigger. God’s good gifts to others are not guaranteed to me. They’re not my portion.

But what is a “portion” anyway?

In the Bible the term was sometimes translated “inheritance,” as in the allotment of land God gave to Israel when they entered the Promised Land. All the tribes received a physical space, land to call their own—all except one.

In Deuteronomy 10:9, we read about the priestly tribe whose portion was not land, but the LORD. “Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him.”

The Bible has a lot to say about the Lord who is our portion.

  • The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psalm 16:5
  • You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. Psalm 119:57
  • I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
  • My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
  • “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:24

I want to count it joy that the LORD—not successful sons, or a famous husband or a thriving ministry— is my portion. My chosen portion. I want to believe, I do believe, what Elisabeth Elliot said, that what God does to me, he does for me.

Which means I must stop buzzing at the window and choose to hope in him to receive the lot for me.

How to Reframe Pain Points to Trigger Your Joy

This blog is for softer, stronger saints who embrace—not just survive, but embrace; not just go through, but grow through—God’s sometimes uncomfortable grace. It’s about a faith that can reframe trials as joy. It’s about using our pain points—like upbeat posts of what is not our lot—to prompt us to take joy in what is our assigned portion.

This is just another way we count loss as gain. We do feel the loss, and can grieve what is not. But then we do the 90-second reset, and reframe the pain with a truth script. It might sound something like this:

The Lord is my portion. I will sit at Jesus’ feet. I choose the good portion that can never be taken (Luke 10:42).

By grace and with effort, we can use the triggers to push us to the One who is wisely working all things (Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:28) and who will perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8). We can choose to renew our minds with truth.

Can we use our “triggers” not to set-off envy, self-pity or grief in our lot, but to push us to the perfect portion we’ve got?

Self-Inflicted Pain

I used to think letting go was weak and grasping dreams was strong.

To be sure, sometimes clinging is strong—like when Abraham “hoped against hope” that he and Sarah would bear a promised child. But Abraham had a sure and personal promise from God. These sort of dreams we must never release.

But I’m talking about my personal dreams, the ones that become nightmares as they crumble.

Mary Lowman explored the “the gift of letting go” in her podcast this month. She says letting go of these five things—our past, the small stuff, the desire for revenge or have control, and, yes, our dreams—is both freeing and peace-giving. I agree.

But there’s one more thing she said keeps looping through my head. It did when, in my garage, I heard that buzzing bee. When I let go of a dream, I realized how much of my pain was self-inflicted. Which reminds me of what Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly, Those who cling to worthless idols [read: my mama dreams] forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

This month I feel that. And I don’t want to forfeit God’s grace.

The Strength Of Letting Go

Now I see strength of character revealed in those who let go of personal dreams. They don’t cling.

These friends have freedom and peace. They refuse to allow a dream hold their joy captive. They refuse to let “the givens” and “the not givens” steal their peace. These people live like the Lord is their portion—not will be their portion, but is, right now, today.

Whether or not a husband, wife, or children, health, wealth, or house, graduation or award are given, these meek people have chosen their lot and in it, they find peace.

These quiet, strong saints know how to let go.

Not Mine To Hold

Elizabeth Elliott wrote,

I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happened to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned portion? Are some things then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Keep A Quiet Heart

Heaven is not here, it’s there. If all my dreams were fulfilled this side of heaven, I might settle for this world rather than the next. I forfeit God’s grace if I keep buzzing at the windowpane, if I don’t let go of my dreams.

I don’t hold my lot. The Lord holds my lot. He is my portion. In him, not in my accomplishment or my sons’ success, is my portion.

The portion he gives is best. So I will let go, trust God and rest.

The Bee I Shall Be

I write a lot about bees—bees elegantly working and critically stinging, futilely buzzing and unfairly stinging. But today it was about bees who stop buzzing.

So can you guess what happened after this last, wing-weary bee video I filmed in my garage?

I gently took the bee off in a tissue and shook him out into his lot, which happens to be a yard full of thousands of blooming daisies.

* * * * *

I was the triggered, buzzing bee and, so help my God, I shall be the quiet, free bee.

Because left to my own will—clinging to my dreams, ignoring my portion, and outside my lot—I would have died upon the windowsill.

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

*‘If we could speak to her,’ my doctor said,

‘And tell her, “Not that way! All, all in vain

You weary out wings and bruise your head,”

Might she not answer, buzzing at the pane,

“Let queens and mystics and religious bees

Talk of such inconceivables as glass;

the blunt lay worker flies at what she sees,

Look there – ahead, ahead – the flowers, the grass!

”We catch her in a handkerchief (who knows

What rage she feels, what terror, what despair?)

And shake her out – and gaily out she goes

Where quivering flowers and thick in summer air,

To drink their hearts. But left to her own will

She would have died upon the window-sill.

– C.S. Lewis, Poems

Bee letting go and sipping nectar from daisy
Released & Free

Hygge, on Earth as in Heaven?

Hygge, fuzzy blanket, mug of tea, Bible open
Rather listen? Here’s the KeepOn Podcast of this post. Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

Here we are traveling and our home is a distant home in another world...
Though we meet with traveler's fare sometimes yet it should not be grievous to us....
Consider what your condition is, you are pilgrims and strangers, so do not think to satisfy yourselves here.  
—Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

What’s Not To Love About Hygge?

I’ve been wrestling this week. I mean really grappling, straining to pin two ideas down right. HYGGE (or “hue-guh“) is on one side of the ring. It’s the Danish word for comfy coziness, and the feeling of contentment and well-being (Anna Altman, The New Yorker) that mightcome as you savor that Gevalia Gold Roast with your Bible and journal open on a sunny Saturday morning.

On the other side of the ring of my mind is SELF-DENIAL. As in, go out in the dark 2 degree cold this morning because you’ve offered to do the carpool after work and it’ll be too late to get out then. As in, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

 Hygge is my good friend’s word of the year and was the subject of my workplace inservice last week.

What’s not to love about it? Shouldn’t Christians be all about hygge?

Is Hygge Living “As An Enemy of the Cross”?

But this morning I read this.

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 

Paul, Philippians 3:18-19 (NIV)

Their God is their stomach? Their mind is set on earthly things? What? Is that hygge I hear?

Theologian D.A. Carson explains, “There’s no principle of self-denial. There’s no no sold-out principle to die daily for the sake of the gospel.”

Which isn’t to say hygge isn’t a lovely thing. Only to say that idols form when, in Tim Keller’s words, we turn a good thing into an ultimate thing. (These 4 questions can help identify our idols.)

Hygge may not be idol, but comfort, health or security might.

Hygge, on Earth as in Heaven?

Carson continues,

Far from being drawn to suffer for Christ’s sake, they are endlessly drawn to creature comforts. Their mind is on earthly things. It’s not as if they focus on immoral, wicked things. Rather all their values and cherished goals and wishes are tied to what belongs to this earth.

Christianity prepares people for heaven. It is not about getting it all now. Someone said, Christians are “later people.” The meek will inherit the earth. Those who mourn will be comforted. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. These blessings will come later.

So does being a “later” person mean we have to hold out till heaven to enjoy hygge?

No. But whether or not we see ourselves as pilgrims on a journey and travelers passing through has everything to do with how we handle hygge. It determines whether we give thanks or grumble. Because pilgrims don’t grumble.

Here’s what I mean.

At Home Or On The Road?

When we are at home, we demand our just-right sleep number bed and just-right fluffy enough pillows. The thermostat is set so high and no higher and the food is just right. At home we can have it our way. 


But when we’re on the road as overnight guests, we make do. We put up with a too-flat pillow or a rock-hard bed, grateful for a place to stay. We’ll endure the stiff neck and sore back because we’ll be in our own bed next week. 


It’s the same with travel food. We don’t expect hygge on the road. We eat what’s put out for us—mushy French toast or weak French roast, runny eggs or rubbery yolks. It’s not how we fix them at home, but that’s okay. We’ll eat and drink what’s set before us because we are travelers, on our way. 

At home, we will feast.

Hygge In Another Man’s House?

This metaphor is not new. Four hundred years ago Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs wrote,

If a man travels, perhaps he does not meet with conveniences as he desires, yet this thought may moderate his spirit: I am a traveler and I must not be finding fault, I am in another man’s house, and it would be bad manners to find fault in someone else’s house, even though things are not as much to my liking as at home. So they are contented while away with the thought that it shall be different when they come home…Thus it should be with us in this world…here we are traveling, and our home is a distant home in another world.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Our earth is another man’s house, and there is Christ-like self-denial.

But There Is Also Honey-Almond Peach Tea

Hygge tonight is sitting with my smart-wooled feet up, a mug of hot, honey-almond peach tea between my knees, a short stack of books and journals beside me and a Dorothy Sayers mystery in my hands.

All the while a wood fire crackles in the stove as Wisconsin winds blow wild. Oh, and there’s some happy Irish folk behind me.

As hyggeligt as all that is here at “home,” I don’t think we will ever feel completely comfy and cozy in this life, if only because we know this life won’t last. The world is not our home. We are “pilgrims” (Hebrews 11:13), travelers en route to a better country. I know this is true.

And Pleasant Inns Along The Way

But I also know—I mean, “experience” know—that God is kind and good. He gives us countless pleasures in this life.  C. S. Lewis captured this idea.

The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast…It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world…: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

The Problem of Pain

Hygge is a pleasant inn. Enjoy it.

Hygge is a pleasant inn. Enjoy it. Embrace your creatureliness, Joe Rigney wrote. Go embrace the fact that creation is a magic glass, the kind that allows you to see God more clearly the thicker it becomes. Embrace your body and your five senses and the wonders that they can perceive and receive in the world… 

Anchor yourself in a supreme and expanding love for God and go enjoy his gifts.

Share them. Create that place. Refresh some souls.

Enjoy God’s gifts and give him thanks.

Italian Hygge And Prison Fare

But you’re still wondering, who won that wrestling match—HYGGE or SELF-DENIAL?

Well, back to the Bible for that.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, that he knew how to deny himself and make do at the inn. But he also knew about hygge. He didn’t call it hygge. The Danes hadn’t coined it yet. Paul said, instead, that he knew, “how to abound.”

I think Paul enjoyed some Italian hygge, some fine wine and bruschetta.

I know Paul handled prison fare. He was in prison when he wrote his letter to the Philippians, about learning to be content in any and every circumstance.

Jesus knew both too. Foxes have holes and birds have nests, he said, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) and to pour himself out (Philippians 2:7-8).

Still, I think Jesus relished Judean hygge. Picture him reclined at Matthew’s table and resting in Mary and Martha’s hospitality. He enjoyed good gifts enough that his enemies accused him of being a glutton and drunkard (Matthew 11:19).

On earth, Jesus knew the delights of his senses, even as he obeyed unto death. He knew hygge and self-denial. I think it’s safe to say his followers will too.

Back in the ring, that’s why hygge and self-denial tie.

Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:20

On Eggs, Dregs and Choosing What You Did Not Choose

wine dregs

Only eight words.

Eight words I grasp with my mind. Eight words I pray grace to live till I die.

These eight words: Joy comes from choosing what you didn’t choose.

The TL; DR on this post: expect delays, remember that comfort is overrated, and think twice when you pray for smooth.

Choose what you didn’t choose is really just another way to say what James said 2000 years ago: “Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters when you meet trials of various kinds.Which starts with learning to welcome— not resent— life’s interruptions.

A lesson it may take a lifetime to learn.

Interruptions Are Real LIfe

The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination! —C.S. Lewis

That quote exploded my big-plan, little-margin life when I first read it years ago. Sometimes I still chafe when my plans are interrupted and I have to wait.

But He’s changing me. I know that because when the red line that suddenly popped up on my Google map had me praying just now, not grumbling, while our van crawled along for miles. And when my day-off plans were quick shortchanged by a call from the school nurse, I could count that “trial” right.

Because waiting for the green line and tending a sick son are precisely the “real” life God is sending me.

Count It All Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

We will be interrupted and we will be tried. Which is why James wrote when you meet trials, not if. And that means we need to commit before they hit to count our interruptions and trials as-you guessed it- joy.

So trials are inevitable and they often come on us suddenly, like interruptions.

Which explains why James used a word  that means “meet” or “fall into.” It’s the same  word used in the parable of the Good Samaritan when a man fell among robbers, and in Acts 27 when the ship Paul was on struck a reef. The word emphasizes the surprise nature of trials.

Trials can come on suddenly. But all trials- internal and external- are tests by God intended to make us strong, mature and complete.

Lacking nothing. 

Dregs

But you know what happens when we’re not tested?

There’s a striking illustration of that in Jeremiah 48.  “Moab has been at ease since his youth,” the prophet wrote. Moab was a neighboring people to Israel. They’d lived an easy life; undisturbed and at ease.

John MacArthur closed a sermon on James 1:2-4 with an explanation of that Jeremiah text.  It has to do with wine-making. With dregs. Verse 12 says, “Neither has he been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor and his aroma has not changed.” 

When wine is fermented initially it is a combination of what is sweet and what is bitter. The liquid was poured into a skin and left for a long time. Eventually, the bitter part would fall to the bottom and become what we call the dregs.

After a period of time what was on the surface was then poured into another skin and another passage of time would yield more dregs. After some time it would be poured into another skin and a few more dregs until finally it could be poured into a skin and there would be no dregs at all because all of that had been removed in that process.

What you had at the end was the pure wine.

Pure Sweet Wine

We want to be pure wine.. We don’t want to retain a bitter flavor and musty aroma.

But without trials- trials counted joy- we’ll stay bitter and musty. Moab’s problem was that he was never poured from trial to trial to trial. Moab’s sinful, bitter dregs never went out.

That’s why maybe we don’t always pray for smooth and ease. Why, by grace, we don’t fall apart when trials and delays come our way.  Why we can sayIf God needs to pour me from vessel to vessel, and trial to trial to so the sinful dregs of my life can fall to the bottom and pure, sweet wine of righteousness remains, then bring on the trials.

And, somehow, to count them all joy. Which means we learn to choose what we didn’t choose.

Choose What You Didn’t Choose

Choose to see the interruptions as sent by God for our good. See the sickness that keeps us home and flat tires that slow us down, infertility that blocks a dream and relationships that break our hearts as for our good. That we might be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

Christian joy is grounded in our union with Jesus, and that union, not our plans coming to pass is the fountain for our joy, which sounds and is supernatural. Murray M’Cheyne’s words, “It is always been my ambition to have no plans as regards myself.”

But that sure grates against our 21st century plan-oriented sensibility, doesn’t it?

Despite the autonomy and self-determination we have, much of life consists of things we didn’t choose. And as one friend just reflected—most of her life’s greatest joys were unplanned. Is that true for you?

Control is an illusion anyway, but we can choose joy.

Eggs

Because saint’s trials are purposeful. They come to test our faith. The boot box says waterproof, but we don’t know till we hike in the rain. We say we trust God, but we don’t know till trials come our way. Alistair Begg makes it plain, Faith is a muscle. Test it and it grows. Leave it alone and it atrophies. 

The pressure builds endurance. Kind of like boiling eggs. But if we pull the egg out before the pressure’s done, the good won’t come. If you don’t leave the egg in hot water long enough, it’ll be a useless mess.

Let perseverance finish its work, James 1:4 says. Get ‘er done, mama says. Finish the work. Don’t pull out of the pot before the pressure’s done.

South African pastor Andrew Murray shares four truths that helped him to joyfully endure trials:

  1. I am here (in this trial) by God’s appointment. It’s not haphazard.
  2. I am in his keeping. He will hold me fast.
  3. In appointing my trials and keeping me, I am in his training program.
  4. I am in his training program as long as he wants me there.

Choose what you didn’t choose. Count it all joy.  If we’re going to be spiritual adults we can’t be dodging his purposes.

Let the egg boil already.

Choose Joy

Alistair Begg says, trials responded to properly are always fruitful. That’s Begg’s code, I think, for Joy comes from choosing what you didn’t choose. 

We accept that life is change and until the day day we die there will choices made for us that we did not choose. And we can resent the choices we didn’t make for ourselves or we can choose joy.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Don’t waste it. Choose what you didn’t choose. Choose joy. Because Someone who knows the beginning and the end sees it all and steers it all and loves you more than you can fully know, let those trials meet you.

They were traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.

If You Knew Everything He Knows

Tim Keller said it this way, God will only give you what you would have asked for if you knew everything he knows. 

The fullness of the Christian life is available where you are now. You don’t need a dreamy husband or cuddly kids. You can be full and complete without a great church that sings the songs you like and work and ministry you crave. I can be full and complete without a bigger blog or a published book.

Which is not to say, don’t change your circumstances if you can (see 1 Corinthians 7:20-31). But it is to say, don’t buy the lie you can’t be full and complete until you do.  In Christ, you can (see Colossians 2:9-12).

Fullness and joy comes from being with Christ. In your presence is fullness of joy, David knew.

So choose His presence. Joy will come.

The Lord sees further than I do; I only see things at present but the Lord sees a great while from now. 

And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone.  

Jeremiah Burroughs

Props to Skye Jethani for the phrase: Joy comes from choosing what you didn’t choose. (Listen to the full interview with Skye, here.)