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How to Interpret Your World

swings
A few weeks ago on a Saturday, I was co-teaching an all day college class in Ardmore, OK. I had stayed over to pray and rest and be in service with my friends who pastor there.

Sunday morning I got up and drove out to a beautiful spot at Lake Murray. I prayed and read scripture and had a wonderful time sitting on the rocks. As I was getting close to time to leave, I walked up past a little playground area.

As strange as it sounds, I had a stirring that I felt was from the Holy Spirit, “go over there and swing.” It didn’t feel so much like a command as an invitation.

I looked across the way at a couple and their dog who were walking to the water’s edge. I thought, “They’re going to think I’m nuts or some kind of creep. My kids aren’t even with me. What am I thinking?”

After a little mental argument, I decided to go for it. I faced my back to the couple and started swinging, up and up–a little higher and higher.

I knew partially what God was after. I had been feeling such pressures lately, so overwhelmed. To enter into a childlike playing was not high on my list of priorities, but as I felt the breeze as I moved back and forth on those swings, I felt His joy.

“Lord, I don’t care what anyone ever thinks of me. I want to be close to You and I know it takes childlike faith. I just want to know You.”

Suddenly something else dropped into my spirit. He spoke to my heart, “how do children interpret their world?” Immediately, I thought, “though their parents.”

Children rely on their parents to help them navigate difficult situations, painful circumstances, or anything they don’t understand. Without loving guidance and their protection, children can fall into despair and discouragement. Eventually they’ll give up.

Right there on those swings I made a commitment to Him that I would stop trying to figure out my circumstances or formulating my own mediocre solutions to problems. I would let Him interpret where I am and what’s going on around me.

It’s not only your personal world though. He invites you to see and interpret the world, not as the nightly news or 24 hour news channels want you to think, but through the lens of living hope and His grace.

I believe the shocking alternative is to live as if there is no God.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good. –Psalm 14:1

I can testify that when I embrace discouragement and attempt to escape through any number of means, it leads to bad things. It becomes a mess very quickly. There is no substitute for knowing the Father.

But does that mean we’re all simple, naive idiots who see rainbows and unicorns everywhere and refuse to face reality? Not at all! It’s not about ignoring these things, but allowing Him to interpret for us.

Keep reading Psalm 14:2 (in the Amplified):

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood, dealt wisely, and sought after God, inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him [of vital necessity].

Understanding and having wisdom is connected to seeking after, inquiring of, and requiring God. It’s a vital necessity. I need God to be God. You need God to be God, and you have to stop thinking you can figure it all out if you try hard enough.

Children are not equipped to deal with these difficulties and challenges on their own, and as a person of faith, you have a resource: a very good Dad–Abba, Father. He will give you understanding and wisdom to deal with the pressures of life, but you have to seek Him first.

You won’t seek Him if you don’t properly recognize Him as God and that He rewards diligent seeking. That faith pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6). He gives the purest, truest interpretation of life and the world. You can trust Him on that.

What do you think? Do you have trouble with this? Are you one who likes to figure everything out or do you run to the Father first?

8 Comments

  1. Oh Jason, I totally have trouble with this. I’m an interesting mix of being deeply sensitive, and then highly analytical. It’s tough sometimes -- the onslaught of feelings and reactions to life, and then the pressing need to figure them out and “file” them into the proper compartments. When I can’t get a handle on it all, well then I am blessed with anxiety.

    Yes, I do pray, but mostly when I am in the throes of all of this, my prayers are for the Lord to fix everything and make all the bad stuff go away. One night, a few months ago, in the middle of another insomniac night, I cried out the deepest prayer of my heart. It surprised me -- for it wasn’t my typical, “Help me, Lord.” What I said was this: “Lord, I just want YOU!”

    Peace settled over me.

    I wish that I would learn my lesson and remember that the answer to all my problems and prayers is found in my relationship to The Answer.

    GOD BLESS!
    Sharon recently posted..CRYING OVER SPILLED COFFEEMy Profile

    • We sound very similar. I didn’t used to be so analytical, but I learned the skill. Lucky for me! 🙂 It always comes back to knowing Him. That’s what He’s after and what He wants us to be after. Good thoughts, Sharon. Thank you.

  2. I waffle Jason. One minute I’m trying to figure things out and the next I say, “It is yours Lord.” You’d think I would learn from each experience which is the better approach to take but I don’t. I’m getting better but certainly not “there.” As for your swinging, I honestly thought you would be saying, “As I swang/swung/reached higher (whichever one works), I could sense the release. I could sense God’s pleasure. Then I thought of Chariots of Fire where he says, ‘When I run I feel God’s pleasure.'” He is pleased with you. 🙂
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..RandomMy Profile

    • I know exactly what you mean. I don’t even want to pretend like I’ll never have a struggle again, but it profoundly marked me that day. And for your other comment--thank you so much, Bill. 🙂 I appreciate that more than you know. It’s easy to lose sight of that in the struggles and failures and fighting the good fight. Thanks again.

  3. I’m continuing to learn to let go and let God. He has an amazing way of giving us the answers we seek when we submit to Him and His will for us. And, when He invites us to the playground, may we readily and joyfully swing!
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..“I Will Sing, Sing a New Song . . .”My Profile

    • Amen! Wonderfully said, Martha. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. I used to try everything and anything to fix myself or my family to “earn” God’s favor. I grew up hearing grace alone, but I think I looked at God through the filter of human experiences and fear. Looking at life through the filter of His grace and love changes everything. Childlike faith is my constant prayer. Just to trust Him completely. Enjoy your time at the conference. Praying it is a huge blessings!
    Deb Wolf recently posted..Quotes on Faith, Trust, and Following JesusMy Profile

    • His perspective means everything. It’s life to us. So true. And thank you--the conference was last week, but it was a wonderful and impactful time. Blessings to you, Deb!

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