Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Tug of War: Time, Stress & Priorities VS. God, Eternity & Joy

Recently someone noted that he felt overwhelmed with the stresses of life (yes, I think you overheard this, too - but probably not from the same person). That got me thinking about our life in this world and the next. Inevitably, we get bogged down with the incessant demands of activities, relationships, work projects, hobbies, events, schedules, home life, church life, maintenance, technology, and so many other things. All of this can rise to a toxic level as we find ourselves out of  focus, out of sorts, and seemingly out of options. This appears to be a universal experience, especially for those of us who live in the Western world.

In such a state, we find it almost impossible to get our scattered minds settled on the Gospel. Prayer and contemplation become luxuries we feel we can ill afford. Bible study turns into a quick glance at a Psalm - or perhaps nothing at all. We begin to count on the preacher's sermon to get us through the week, and we rely on a few restless moments of sleep to carry us through the steadily advancing days. But those hours are gone too quickly and each day's new mercies get buried under the clutter of our busy-ness.

Yet for each of us there comes a time of true rest, eventually. That rest will be chosen by us through a painful decision to cut off things we enjoy but don't need, or it will be forced upon us by circumstances and ill health and mental strain and the unexpected breakdown which finally forces us to pause. We might be angry when this happens. But at the end of it all is God, calling us to Himself in a voice that is at once quieter and more persistent than all of the earthly demands. His sheep know His voice, and we follow Him. If not, He binds our legs together and slings us over his shoulders and carries us. We seem to be out of commission, but we're actually in a wonderful place of trust-building dependence. These are hard lessons to learn, but necessary to our growth under the difficult reality of being time-bound and priority-driven. It will be wondrously freeing to enter eternity, and be swept up in an intent God-focus that cannot be turned even slightly by the raging distraction of less worthy things.

Till then, this is a wretched and uncomfortable life, filled with sorrow, trouble . . . and flashes of imperishable delight whenever He shows His hand or reveals His smile. Mercy and grace are drawing us up to our eternal rest, even as this world wraps its tentacles more tightly around our feet. We may feel pulled in two different directions, but let us lift our heads and smile up toward the One Who holds our hands more tightly and tenaciously than this world's distractions ever could. He won this tug of war before we knew it.


  1. Excellent post, brother; I just wanted you to know how much it refreshed my soul this morning. Have a blessed week in the Great Shepherd's care.

  2. Beautiful - how timely and encouraging for me.

  3. Derek,

    It looks like you have worked hard to initiate an effective site. May God strenghthen others as they interact with your posts.


  4. Craig,

    Really great to hear from you, thanks for your encouragement.


  5. Oops ... I didn't mean to ignore the comments from Barry and the Blainemonster. Guys, I appreciate your encouragement, too! In fact, I just recently discovered the B-Monster has his own blog, the VertiCALL. Worth checking out, for sure!

    Thanks everyone for commenting. This post was actually very direct and timely for me, and I found myself putting it to practical use almost immediately. God is good, and I'm thankful that the Good Shepherd carries me.

    Grace & peace,


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