Aliens in This World

img_1295484611196_691I’m always shocked when slapped with the reality that people are inherently evil. Last week, I was driving through the comparatively sleepy town of Pine Grove and a truck shot out of a side street without stopping and raced across two lanes to pull into the gas station, nearly hitting a vehicle coming from the other direction. When the driver of this other vehicle honked (which would be my automatic reaction, too) the driver of the truck stopped, stuck his arm out the window and flipped him off. “What is wrong with people?” I muttered.

In hindsight, I realize this little interaction is typical. We see it all the time. Lately, it’s harder for me to shake these things off. I feel displaced and uncomfortable. Joni Eareckson Tada reminded me in her book Heaven: Your Real Home that I’m actually an alien in a strange land—because this is not my homeland. Knowing that gives me comfort, although we still have to live and function in this alien country. It’s our training ground, so to speak.

I’m so grateful that we haven’t been plunked down in this world without proper armor and a guidebook. And although it’s not always easy to “turn the other cheek,” God gently reminds me that it’s what He calls me to do when I’m tempted to sink down to the level of those who are ruled by Satan rather than Him. Because if Jesus Christ isn’t our Lord, Satan is. Entitlement, greed, vindictiveness, self-centeredness…these are all manifestations of the enemy. I have to remember this when faced with such behavior.

Hebrews 12:14-15 says Pursue peace with all people, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this, many become defiled. I have to remind myself of this scripture over and over again when dealing with people who continually seek to devour those around them in order to gain more—more money, more power, more accolades. And then I have to remind myself to pray for them. Because what they sink to the depths of Satan to attain is as solid as vapor and just as temporary.

But the key to any of this, at least for me, is to be able to trust that God has it handled. I struggled with this as I opened up my Bible this morning. I prayed that God would reveal himself to me—and He did. I love starting out my quiet time with Charles Stanley’s In Touch magazine. God orchestrates the daily readings to align with my needs every time. How does He do that? Somehow, I missed yesterday’s reading—again, orchestrated by God—because He knew I’d need a double dose today. Yesterday’s scripture was Ephesians 1:11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.

After the disturbing news I received last night, I needed that assurance this morning. Charles Stanley writes “God has ultimate authority. As Psalm 103:19 says The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. There is nothing beyond His knowledge or His ability to direct…nothing happens apart from His awareness, direction, and loving purpose.” This is where I must rest to trust in my faith in God, because He has never let me down before. That doesn’t mean I receive what I think I want—He always gives me something better. Today’s scripture, Jeremiah 32:17 says O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Charles Stanley reminds me that “nothing can happen apart from [God’s] direction and permission…He is intimately involved in our personal lives and cares about the details of each day…He makes something beautiful for His children from every circumstance—even situations that seem painful and wrong.”

I have been the benefactor of God’s love and grace more times than I can remember. As James says, we should count each trial as joy because God has something amazing in store when we persevere. Our characters don’t grow when we live in comfort—it’s only when honed by the person of Jesus Christ that we become the person God calls us to be. And in the process, He uses each test and trial to further His unique plan for us. Makes it so much easier to face evil when I know God is ultimately in control of the outcome.

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