As pass times go, eating out at a restaurant has to be one of the highest on the list (maybe not so much these days). Think about how many times in our lives we have enjoyed a meal with friends and family, celebrated birthdays and major life events, or simply needed to feel special and possibly even enjoyed our own company while being waited on. This pass time, however fun and convenient it may be, is built on faith and trust. Our faith in the entire food industry increases with the amount of times we have an incredible experience eating out, we become adventurous and begin a journey of stepping out of our comfort spots because we have this unknowing faith in an industry that pride's itself on the strictest hygienic practices this side of a dentist. Every single time that we dine (whether inside, outside or take out to eat back at home) we are in the middle of easily the most intense amount of trust that we don't even know we have activated. We trust wholeheartedly that the people who are preparing our food are following all the rules and regulations of the food industry to the letter. The trust factor is automatic because we are convinced that they know what they're doing.
Psalm 37:1-6 (NASB)
"Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgement as the noonday."
The way that we view trust in God (whom we cannot see on a physical level) is similar to the way that we view riding on an airplane for the first time. Let's just say that we are never more acutely aware of our nerves, than in moments like these. We just want to be that person who doesn't feel butterflies and isn't looking around the cabin to make sure that the aircraft has been assembled correctly; but, on that maiden flight, we ARE that person. When we trust God for things that are crazy (outside of God) like divine health, financial manifestation, or favor above everyone else in that job interview; we tend to feel the same way as that first flight experience. Ultimately, we are stepping out in faith, we are trusting Him to do something that we have no control over. The tendency is to be nervous about it. We want to believe that it's safe to do as the Word says we can do, but doing it requires us to step out of the boat and attempt a walk on a liquid. We can wind up doubting that we are capable of such a feat, we start listening to the logic of our natural understanding especially during the wait period, we can even begin to question God's intent when He inspired the Bible to be written - He couldn't have POSSIBLY meant this to be literal! Alternatively, we can settle down into the mindset of a simple CHILD as the Master Himself once said in Matthew 19:14, "allow the children to come unto Me for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven." So why then, we must ask, is it so easy for us full grown adults to trust and have faith in people (whom we've also never met) who are preparing our sustenance on a physical level, than it is for us to trust and have faith in our God who has already prepared our sustenance on a spiritual level? Could it be because we are less spirit conscious, and yet defiantly way more naturally aware and confident in our own calculations? Jesus also went on to say in Matthew 18:3, "unless you become as a little CHILD you will in no way enter into the kingdom of God." If we don't get this figured out on a personal level, we will not be able to enter into and relax on a Divine Kingdom level. Just like little children we need to be within the sound of the voice of our Heavenly Father who guides us through our hearts, ears and eyes unto our desired destinations in life.
Simeon was a man who was found to be at the very temple that Mary & Joseph had taken baby Jesus to be presented and consecrated to God, per Jewish customs. Simeon was over 250 years old at the time! The scriptures call him devout and righteous and his name even means "the God hearer". Another fun fact about Simeon, he was blind.
“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bondservant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed - and a sword will pierce even your own soul - to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.””
So here we have this blind man in his late 200’s (let’s all just think about what that even would feel like to be in our 200’s for a minute) who can see only through the Spirit and who is so reliant on the Holy Spirit that he makes his way to the very temple where Jesus the baby is about to be dedicated to God - this man is one of our bright and shining examples of what it looks like to trust God and live in faith. For everything. Every. Thing. Indeed, Simeon’s example is most like our own ability to eat out at our favorite restaurant. No thought processing. No wondering about the if’s or the how’s. In fact, no questions asked. Simeon lived his life of trust, obedience, faith on ONE WORD from God to him - that he wouldn’t see death until he saw Jesus the Christ. Imagine that! After year 150, he had to be thinking…um…God? Are we there yet? And WE think that we are super followers of Jesus because we were able to wait a whole month for that which we stood our ground in faith for and trusted God non-stop until it happened. Think again.
See, the key to the kind of faith that Simeon exemplified is to stop thinking so hard about it, to stop trying so hard to be perfect enough to do it, to stop saying all the right things so that we are able to obtain it faster - all wrong. The key, friends, is to get ourselves out of the way and just enjoy the meal like our inner spiritual child wants to do. Simeon’s longevity wasn’t tied to his trust in God, his trust in God produced his extended youthfulness and he became such a key factor in the very beginnings of God’s fantastic plan for humanity.
Psalm 91:2 (NKJ)
"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."
Anyone who has Netflix these days (a number which has grown significantly in 2020) may have seen an advertisement for a documentary on the Space Shuttle Challenger; this is the shuttle that broke apart only 73 seconds after lift off. This shuttle in particular carried the first ever American teacher on board who would have taught the first live from space lesson to students across the globe. It's a hard documentary to watch, as we all know the ending. However, one moment in particular stands out as one of the greatest lessons that Christa McAuliffe ever taught (though she didn't know she was teaching it). The documentary reveals a phone conversation that Christa had with her sister the night before launch, when her sister asked about the upcoming launch - Christa responded, "I have faith in NASA." That was enough for her. It didn't matter that there were 2 postponements and bad weather; her faith was in the hands of the people in charge of a program that she came to love and trust and place her life in. Even well meaning good people who place their trust in anything other than GOD, are in for the tragedy of great disappointments and even the possibility of destruction.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NIV)
"This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.""
As heartbreaking as this topic is, it is also an incredible lesson to all of us who claim to follow Jesus. Because as we all KNOW (even if we aren't quite living every day of our lives this way yet) God is THE ONLY certainty in this life and the life to come. This blog just got real, because this subject matter is FOR REAL. When we are not in a trust communion with God, we are not placing all of our faith in Him. When our faith isn't in Him, our faith is in something/someone else and our paths are being directed by the same. Somehow this young, beautiful school teacher exemplified the same faith and trust in an organization just as Simeon had in God, just as children have in their parents; tragically, she placed her steadfast faith in the wrong source because the TRUTH is that our faith belongs in only ONE - our GOD, our total provider. With this time we have on the planet earth, may we all double down on what it means to trust Him 100%, because contrary to many popular beliefs, we the Jesus followers ARE promised tomorrow and beyond as a direct result of what Jesus did, our relationship with Him and what we do with it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."