Expectations of God

September 19, 2018

The Lord Jesus Christ, in His infinite mercy, desires to save us all with all His will. And He shall use His infinite power to do this. But what exactly does the Lord do? What do we expect Him to do for us?

Now, it is hard to believe at first, but the fact of the matter is that we dug the pit described in Psalm 69, and we have put ourselves into it. The Writings say in no uncertain terms: we are the cause of our own unhappiness, our own evil (HH 547). This is not referring to those times when physical disease or mental disease has caused a depression. The pit described in the 69th Psalm is a state of spiritual temptation. Good people, spiritually healthy people enter this pit when they consciously realize in the light of the Word that evil from hell has been taken on as part of oneself. Anger, hatred, wandering lust, all come to us from hell, unbidden and uninvited. There will be times for all of us, times of stress or emotional heat, when we accept this evil, when we think of it, will it, or actually do it. Now, an evil person will delight in his evil affections; he will not fight them. He will not even call them evil. But the message of the Psalm is that when we try to get rid of our evil inclinations, when we recognize the evil as evil, then we go down into the pit, into the mire, into the dark, cold, comfortless place of our love of ourselves and the world. We have chosen to be there because we want to change. We are willing to stand up and fight. This desire to fight, and its strength are not ours; they come from the Lord flowing into the goodness He has stored up in us. We can use that power because we have learned the truths which are vessels that can contain affections for good, flowing into us from the Lord, giving us power.

Our task is before us. Our evils are the walls of our personal pit. This place seemed so comfortable and secure at one time. But that was before we discovered that those walls were actually the prison walls of hell, trapping us in our love of ourselves and the world. We now realize that the waters gathering around us are falsities. The mire is the love of ourselves, which is no longer firm. In the rising waters, all we’re left to do is fall on our knees in supplication. So we choose to pray, and beseech the Lord for help. All in a moment’s hesitation and instant reflection: “I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God….Answer me, O Lord, for Your steadfast love is good; according to the multitude of  Your tender mercies, turn to me.” (Psalm 69:3,16) You have reached despair of ever being saved. You must be ready to answer correctly, what do you expect the Lord to do?

And God says that He loves you so much that He has sent His only begotten Son that when you believe in Him you will not perish but have eternal life! Belief in Him leads to letting go of anger, resentment, condemna-tion of others. It leads to a clear sight of how to love your neighbor more than yourself, and how to be true to the Lord’s laws while merciful in attitude and action. He doesn’t condemn the world to make it a nicer place for you, and you should not expect Him to. He will change your world, beginning in your heart, when you accept the Son, the Divine Human, as your rescuer, as the one who lifts you out of the pit.

We come out of the pit of temptation when we take on the responsibility of the freedom which we should expect the Lord to give us. First, we acknowledge that the feeling that life is from ourselves is only an appearance, not the reality. In so doing we turn away from ourselves and the world and to the Lord as our only hope, which we can expect Him to be. In so doing we cast off the feelings of condemnation for our sins, for we now know that the evil in us is from hell. Secondly, we act from the knowledge that our feeling of freedom is not an appearance. In so doing we respond to the Lord by using the power we should expect Him to give us. In so doing we act upon the realization that we bear the responsibility for choosing evil or good. “To desist from evils has been left to a person’s will; that is to his freedom. There then flows in goodness from the Lord, which is never wanting.” (AC 9378:3)

We receive His blessings, which are “never wanting.” That is what we can expect the Lord to do. We have chosen to go down into the pit to fight, and it was a good choice, for by it we are being regenerated. With the power of the Lord’s life we can, seemingly, lift ourselves up by our own boot straps. We can use our life as if of ourselves. We can use the Lord’s power which flows into us without ever affecting our freedom.

So let us take hold of the rope the Lord throws down to us in the pit. That saving rope is true faith in Him. It is trust in Him. That faith is acknowledging, from study and experience, that His promise of greater joy and light outside of the pit is true and worth fighting for.

Then we will be above ground, looking down upon all those evil affections and bad habits and fixed ways of being that used to delight us so. We will be in full, warm daylight, and on solid ground. “He who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:21)

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