Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Like A Wave

Reading the news today of President Bush’s increased approval ratings amuses me. We all know the numbers were boosted by successful elections in Iraq. And we all know they will decline again following the next tragic event there. Or maybe they’ll go up if Bin Laden is captured. What fickle people we can be.

Whether your opinion of Bush is good or bad, whether you favor the war or not, don’t you think your approval (or disapproval) should be rooted in something deeper or more substantial than isolated events on the ground? If more people stood on principles or policies, it seems to me the numbers would vacillate a lot less.

But I am sometimes like these poll responders. We had to make summer camp decisions last week, and I could not make up my mind. We were under time pressure, and I found myself unable to stick with a decision. Trying to please the kids. Trying to please friends. Trying to juggle the schedules of about 20 youths and 4 camps. My double-mindedness was frustrating others. I felt totally incompetent. Do you ever feel like this?

And suddenly the words “You are like a wave, tossed to and fro” penetrated the whirlwind. That’s a phrase from the first chapter of James. It describes those who are without God’s wisdom, those who doubt His wisdom. It was like a spiritual spanking from the Holy Spirit. Get your mind and your eyes back on track! I was losing sight of the goals we had already (prayerfully) set for our family’s summer.

Jesus uses a simple analogy to illustrate how vulnerable we are when we don’t hear or practice His words. He says we are “like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:26-27) When we base our decisions and actions on circumstances, events, feelings, and popular opinion, we are building on sand. James says we’ll be double-minded and unstable. (James 1:8) We’ll probably have lots of crashes.

Here’s the flip side:
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25