Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sloths in the Bog

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth. -- Proverbs 19:24

It is probably possible to be pragmatic without being wise, but wisdom is always practical because the wise recognize things as they are.  Sloth is more than being allergic to work.  The sluggard here is much like our modern nihilists.  Life is too much trouble. 

As one prone to depression, I know part of the cure is sleep, but another part is positive activity.  I am most vulnerable to despair when there is nothing I can do.  As long as there is action, gloom is pushed aside.  When things are out of our hands we are more likely to begin to feel hopeless.  It can feel as though there is no sense in eating, that my eating would be a waste of food.  It’s all pointless. 

That’s what the Bible means by sloth, and it is a deadly sin.  Not only can it lead to various forms of acute and chronic self-destruction, it is a stepping away from faith, casting aside all that God has given us.  Even for someone like me, extraordinary only in my ordinariness, my life, strength, and resources -- such as they are, are divine gifts that I should use as fully as possible in service to the Lord and to others.

Faith tells me that I am not here without a reason.   Moses thoroughly messed things up and spent forty years aimlessly following sheep on the backside of nowhere.  His life still had a destiny.  Joshua and Caleb were forced by the faithlessness of the majority to live as dusty nomads, also for forty years.  Yet they remained leaders and conquerors.  David was anointed king of Israel only to spend wasted years as a desperate fugitive, outlawed by Saul’s madness.  His destiny was, nevertheless, secure. 

Whether we have come to a point of dejection through our own fault or someone else’s or life in general, we can remain in or return to the will of God by trusting Him.  When we are in it, the Slough of Despond appears endless with extrication impossible.  This is not so.  As Bunyan said, it is our doubt and apprehensions that fill the bog and the weight of our burden of sin and guilt that causes us to sink into it.  Let us cast our cares upon Christ who has promised to bear our burdens and go on through.


Paul Griffin said...

Thank you for this. It has been an especially difficult day/week/month for me in many regards, and this was incredibly uplifting.

julie said...

Yes, thank you. I can't even claim any personal difficulty, but the downward pull is often there all the same; it's always good to be reminded that, indeed, there is a point to all of this.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

As Navy SEALs are fond of saying, the only easy day is yesterday.
That's not meant to discourage but rather to acknowledge reality and to challenge us to be more than we think we can be; to push our manmade boundaries and embrace our destiny.

It's no coincidence that most US special forces guys believe in God and, indeed, most are Christians.

All these challenges and tragedies show what we are made of and develop strong character, and enable us to grow.

To paraphrase the above saying: the only hopeless day is the day we give up and quit trying.
If we have faith in God and we never quit there is no hopeless days no matter how we feel at any particular time.

We will still hurt, feel despair, depression, and sadness, but it's not forever and we need only endure, stand fast and continue to fight until we pass through it.

Though we make walk a thousand steps away from God it's onLy one step back.
Doesn't matter if we are in the wilderness or the land of milk and honey, destiny calls.

It's up to each one of us to decide if we wanna embrace our destiny or settle for fate ( and fate is a bitch).

Thanks for a timely, uplifting post, Mushroom!

Brigid said...

That's a wonderful outlook, and so true. You are wise indeed, and so good to share your gifts with us.

julie said...

Ben, strong words. And coming from you, they get an exponential boost that gladdens my heart.

mushroom said...

Paul, Julie, and Brigid, thank you all so much.

Ben, Julie captures my feelings as well. You are truly an inspiration.