I had an interesting meeting the other day. I was driving back from Seattle after my doctor's appointment, and decided that I wanted to stop on Mercer Island because I'd never been there before. It was 10 am, and a beautiful morning already. I had my back pack with my water, and a good book to read. I started off for a park. I passed by two, and before the third one I asked the Lord where I should go and decided to stop at the third one I came to. It was completely empty. What more could I ask for?
I walked down to the park, which was on Lake Washington and absolutely beautiful. It was quiet and peaceful. There were ducks and very few boats out on the water. Gradually more people began to show up. I layed my blankie out and plopped myself in the sun, and began to read my book. Then I notice this man coming down the walk way carrying a huge floaty thing, and listening to some type of pod cast on his blackberry. He made me laugh because he went and sat down on a bench and began blowing up this HUGE floatie, but not with a device. He was using his own mouth to blow it up. When I say this floatie was huge, it was HUGE.
I continued to read my book, flipped over to the other side so that I would get evenly browned. Then he decides to walk over and ask me if I had ever listened to this teacher he was listening to. I told him I hadn't, and had never heard of the guy. I asked him what this guy taught. He said he's a pastor, are you into that sort of thing? I said yes I believe in Jesus Christ.
There were a lot of people around at this point so I didn't feel uncomfortable talking to him. He began telling me that I could have a great life if I would just listen to this teacher, or that teacher, etc. I told him that I did have a great life, but it wasn't a result of any teacher here on earth — it was solely because of Jesus Christ. I don't place my faith in any teachers. I will listen to them, glean what I can, and put my faith in Jesus and Jesus only. He couldn't understand what I was talking about. I know his heart was in the right place, but just slightly skewed.
He told me that he thought that he had been sent there to get me back on track, and listening to these certain teachers and kept saying if I would listen to these teachers I could have a great life. I explained to this man that what I found, unfortunately, when I was listening to these certain teachers he was talking of, I found that it caused me to carry a burden that I was never meant to carry. I was reading all these books, trying to do all these things, pray the right thing, do the right thing, etc., and getting worn down in the process and very burdened, and felt very heavy.
He then tells me again that he believed that the Lord sent him there for me — to get me back on track. I very gently asked him, "do you think maybe the Lord sent me here for you?" I told him that since I quit listening to those teachers that I've found a greater peace than I had before. He told me that was a lie from the enemy. I sighed. I asked him if he ever read his bible. You can guess his answer. (No) — but then he goes on to tell me that one of these teachers he said I should listen to said that even she hasn't read the whole bible. I told him that I found that disturbing, and asked him why he didn't find that disturbing. Someone on television, supposed to be a Christian, teaching the word of God,has been a Christian for many years, and is leading others — and she says that even she hasn't read the bible. I found that hard to believe, but even if it was true, that's not a good thing.
I told this man that in all my strivings of reading this book, or that book, or working on this issue or that issue, I finally one day looked up and said to the Lord, "it shouldn't be this hard to have a relationship with You." In His gentle, quiet, still voice, He replied "it's not." I put all those books away, and focused solely on the Word. You see, its not up to me to hold the world in my hands, that's His job. Again, when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus gave them a simple outline. It's not hard. God — Your will be done. (Matthew 6:6-13)
It's been a journey to let go of some of these bad teachings that I read because I can't help but think "maybe it was something I did, or didn't do, or I didn't pray it the right way….." etc. Just because we follow Jesus doesn't mean that everything is going to be perfect, or that we're going to have our "best life now" because sometimes life is tough, but what we need to remember is that God is faithful.
A dear friend pointed me to Psalms 25 this morning. In the study notes in my NIV bible, it stated "Adversity in our lives is not necessarily a sign of God's disfavor. Knowing God and His ways may lead us into suffering and loss that we would not have otherwise encountered. The ultimate example of this truth is Jesus Himself, who followed God's will perfectly, yet suffered sorrow, betrayal and the cross. The believer, abiding in God's will, must expect the same." (Matt. 10:24)
There is no magic formula for having a relationship with our Creator. Absolutely we can and should pray and do things as He leads, but above all else, we should want His will to be done in our lives.