Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the Details

I've heard a lot about a little book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Not wanting to miss out, I bought the book and have started reading it. I must admit that I'm having to read it in small doses because the content is so powerful. Powerfully convicting. Somewhere in the back of mind, I knew that my life is not all about me. But, this book puts that thought into words that are real and convicting. I am but a moment in time. And, I have to think about how I want my moment to count. I want my moment, more than anything, to reflect the glory of the God of the universe. In the big picture, I'd like to leave some legacy of having told hundreds, thousands, or millions about Jesus. I'd like for my writings to be published for people to see that God brought me through a painful time to a place of healing. I'd like to sing His praises for anyone who'd listen. Surely all those are good, noble desires of which it would appear that God would get the glory. But, when I think about all those big-picture thoughts, I realize I've kind of made it all about me. So, today, as I was balancing my checkbook, I began to think about how we are supposed to live lives in which God gets the glory in the details. My confusion and frustration stem from my worry and/or stress over the life's details, in this case, the checkbook. This is where I've been confused, even frustrated, at how to live for God. Chan discusses the fact that worry and stress are really just sins. He says the following about those sins:

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Back to the checkbook scenario. I have said often, and will continue to say, I'm not good at math. I don't like math. I use as little math as possible on a day-to-day basis. But, as I'm sure you know, there is math involved in balancing a checkbook. So, today, as I was $16.10 away from being balanced, I became very stressed. (I like the checkbook to balance down to the penny!) I felt tension creep into my shoulders as I added and re-added, checked and double-checked my math. The thought crossed my mind, "How is God supposed to get glory in these stupid, little details, like balancing the checkbook?" Hmmm. So, I prayed. Honestly, it was kind of a half-hearted prayer. I asked God to help me balance the checkbook. I felt silly asking God for such a trivial little thing. But, I went on and asked God how He would get glory from answering such a ridiculous prayer. He answered me with this thought: in this, you will understand that I am God of the details of your life. And, I came to realize that we can give God the glory in the tiniest details of our lives. I sought His help, and He answered. I picked up a receipt that had gone unnoticed, and there was the $16.10. You might call it coincidence, but I call it an answered prayer that came with a life lesson. We all have tiny details, things that must be tended to on a daily basis: dishes, laundry, checkbooks, homework, work, etc. In the grand scheme of our earthly lives (or moments), the details don't really matter. What matters is how we respond to having to accomplish those details. Our response should be to find a way to give God glory in every detail.

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