O Lord, to You I cry out; For fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field.Joel 1:19 NKJV
Bad things happen. Knowing why, or how, or who to blame doesn’t change the fact that the bad thing happened. Loss, whether a person, place, or thing, happens. Pain, whether emotional, mental, or physical, happens. When these things happen, emotions happen too. Whether we want them to or not, whether we acknowledge them or not, they are there. And there is something that tries to worm its way in through those emotions, pride.
For most people, when they picture pride, it’s usually haughty kings like Nebuchadnezzar or villains like Gaston (or maybe I just picture that). But usually pride is pictured with success. Though, I find that in the Bible, pride can be anywhere. Look at Jonah.
Then God said to Jonah, “What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?” Jonah said, “Plenty of right. It’s made me angry enough to die!” God said, “What’s this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night. So, why can’t I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than 120,000 childlike people who don’t yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?” Jonah 4:9-11 MSG
One of the definitions of pride is a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character. It’s a state of mind of self. That moment that the only thing clear to us is ourselves.
Under trees, it’s sometimes hard to see the sun. The sun is still there, and if we look hard enough, it can be seen through the branches. But, it’s hard to look at the sun, and much easier to look at the ground, the branches of the tree, our surroundings or our own feet. We don’t realize how dark our surroundings are, how much light the tree hid, until we get out from under the tree and go into the direct sunlight.
Pride is the same. It covers our view of not only God, but our world. When pride is paired with the emotions stemming from bad things, it can feel justified. Such as my job. I lost my job, I got laid off, I deserve a severance. If I said that, people would not argue. I am simply asking to get paid for my services and compensation for my loss. But what does that statement build? Where is it really looking too?
I lost my job, I got laid off, I deserve a severance.
That’s a lot of self going on. And I’m not saying that this didn’t happen to me, but let’s try to see through the branches:
The company shut down. Everyone in the company, we, lost our jobs. God, what now?
There is still a form of self because yes, I did lose my job. But so did many others. And I know this type of statement or others like it (like the “there’s starving children in Africa” or “well, at least, blah blah blah”) doesn’t make a person feel better, but honestly, it shouldn’t. They are simple truths about the world around us. Shining a light on the fact that hey, we’re not the only people suffering. So, it’s not meant to comfort. Sometimes sunlight hurts. Whenever I go from somewhere dark to somewhere extremely bright, my eyes hurt a bit. But it also opens my eyes to the colors, and things I didn’t see. The things I never knew I wanted and needed to see. Like the beautiful vast blue and open sky.
Changing perspectives is not about seeking comfort, it’s about seeking God. The God who can comfort you, lead you, guide you, heal you, and restore what you lost. The second version of the lost job statement ended by asking God, what now. In that statement, I chose to seek God. Not what I deserve. I was seeing the sunlight through the branches. Letting go of that self-view to gain a God-view.
So, whether it is great success or great loss, where are you looking? What are you seeking?
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.Luke 22:42 KJV