“When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot me.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Where do you turn when things get tough? I’ve asked that question before. You already know what I think the answer should be: God. Perhaps you do turn there and good for you. Many people turn to something they identify as a higher power when things get tough. That’s not at all unusual. It’s also not what I am interested in this morning. I just wanted to distract you a bit. Here’s what I’m interested in right now: Where do you turn when things are smooth and easy?
Puzzled by that question? I would be at first if I wasn’t the one asking it. We don’t think about where we turn when things are good because we don’t turn anywhere when things are good. They are good. We don’t need to turn anywhere. In order for them to stay good, we just need to keep doing the things that made them good in the first place.
But you see, we don’t always do that very well. In fact, we don’t often do that very well. We approach life like someone learning to ride a bike. When we feel like we’re cruising along smooth and easy, like we’ve finally got it, we shout, “Let go!” and try to ride by ourselves.
The catch is, we can’t ride by ourselves yet. It wasn’t ourselves who got things to the point of being smooth and easy. So, instead of keeping on in the same lane that brought things to a good place, we jump to a different path we think will continue us on down the same road. The trouble is, that path is necessarily heading in a different direction.
When we go through life and things are going well, what is it that we think? We think: “I got this.” Don’t we? We think: “I have got everything under control. If I just keep doing what I’m doing, things are going to keep on like this forever.” Now, maybe you’re more cynical than that, but I’ll bet you at least go to the place of, “I got this for now. I’m probably going to drop it later, but I got it now.”
So what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with thinking we’ve had something to do with the success we’ve experienced? As we talked about recently, if we don’t get the source of our success right, we won’t be able to continue in it. And in seasons of success, the easy temptation is to think we can relax because everything is under control.
And what do we do then? We back off from God. He got us through the hard times. No doubts there. We turned right to Him when things were bad and He was faithful to help us through them. But now that they’re good? We don’t turn to Him. In the good, we turn to ourselves. We get prideful. And, of course, we know what follows pride.
So, where do you turn when things are easy and smooth? If you’re smart, you’ll turn to the one who made them easy and smooth. You’ll thank Him for what He’s given all the while recognizing that He is going to call you back to action soon. Then they won’t be so easy and smooth. But you’ll still be connected to Him and so there won’t be any slack to pick up.
Life isn’t always easy. But it is always good if we stick with the God who is good. So keep calling on Him. He’s got more good ahead—even when things don’t seem like it in the moment—if we’re just willing to receive it.