Fortitude


The Solid Rock
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

One of the things that I am learning more and more lately is that all the problems that I have in my life, things that stand in the way of my happiness, are a failure to have Godly wisdom directing me in all areas of life. Don't get me wrong. I understand that I am a "great father" and "wonderful husband" and that God has so greatly blessed my family through our obedience to live through His word. However, the more and more I seek wisdom, I realize how utterly deprived I am, even in my supposed righteousness before other men.

I have literally had to spend hours and hours asking myself what brings me happiness. What brings me the most happiness is what I should be pursuing with all of my efforts. But the problem is that I don't even know what brings me the most happiness. I am asking myself what I "feel" will bring me happiness and ignore the fact that the heart is deceitful.

For example, look at money. Money is something that has the ability to buy us our basic needs and once those basic needs are met, we can buy luxurious items that buy us even more happiness but with diminished returns. Everybody pursues money even though it is a scientific and documented fact that those with great amount of money are typically no more happier than those with much less money. So, we pursue daily things that bring happiness but happiness in this way can never be reached. What hopelessness!

When Candice and I were in New York, the most populous city in the United States, it became more and more apparent that there existed a problem that has stood in the way of my happiness. Its a concept that I'm certain every person struggles with, but perhaps not to the same degree as myself. I see this problem in the eyes of people in New York as I walk by them in the busy streets of Manhattan. I see it everywhere in the world. I have heard very few people speak about this problem in my life so far, perhaps because they could never put their finger on the problem. This is the problem: Man has a burning desire inside of him to feel that he is significant. I have felt this feeling my entire life. I have been known to be the most humble person to many people but I see in my life that there are actions I have taken, and words spoken because there is a great and selfish desire in myself to feel significant. In fact, there have been many times in my life where I justify inaction because I feel that the magnitude of my great future actions will outweigh the "small" inactions of the past. Even more, I have found that I feel greater than others because I feel that my future is brighter than another's.

So, I have gone through life thinking and feeling that at some point there will be a realization of what plan God has planned for me so that this feeling of significance could be fulfilled. I've gone to great lengths to understand what I could possibly do in life to be significant so that my name could be remembered in future generations and finally this desire inside of me could finally be fulfilled. I've even tried to find systematic ways to love with more depth and breadth than any other man has ever seen. Always thinking and never doing!

What I have realized is that many people have this problem and it never is fulfilled. That is something that I could never come to tell myself because it brings light to my greatest fear; that someday I will die in a state of insignificance.

This even became more aware to me in reading Matthew Chapter 20. In short, the parable describes men who are hired at different times throughout the day to work in a field. At the end of the day, some men felt that the owner of the field was unfair because he paid those who started at the 11th hour the same amount as those who were hired in the first hour. I feel like I am that person who was hired in the first hour. I feel more significant than others who started their work later in life, or with what appears to be less talent, less intelligence, less ability. However, Jesus concludes this parable with this:


13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

I pride myself in saying that my life has been built upon a rock. However, the more and more I look at my foundation, the more and more I realize how much of it is sand! I pride myself in fortitude; an assurance that whatever problems come my way in life, I am prepared emotionally, physically, and spiritually to stand my ground. By getting rid of this sand that existed in my foundation, I am now learning that significance will not bring me happiness, just as money will not bring me happiness. If I want true happiness, I will live out God's great purpose, and that purpose is to love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. A great way that I can do that is to begin to show perfect, selfless love to others and stop making excuses.

Now that I have released this need for significance in the eyes of other men, I want to point out that there is not a loss of hope because I have "given up" on my past desires. In fact, I have discovered a great joy and hope in discovering that I am already significant because I am one of few who have placed my foundation on the rock. If God wills it, I will be significant before other men but whether I do or whether I don't, my great level of happiness remains the same.

I write this posting tonight fully aware that it potentially may bring a great truth to you and I pray that it does. Now that I have come to this realization, my words are written in perfect love, not that I could sleep better tonight feeling that I wrote something significant. Because whether truth is found in this or not, it comes to you in love, and at the very least, perfect love does no harm.