Thursday, June 11, 2015

Let's (Not) Get Cynical.

There is a phenomenon that has been going on in my life for a while now. I'm not sure if this is a virus that is spreading to my generation, or if it is something that happens to all people around this age or stage of life. I do know that sometimes it has felt completely in my control, a useful weapon keeping me from falling into a pit; other times it has snuck in and seemed to infiltrate down to my blood vessels until it felt like I was spending my days trudging through fog and...peanut butter. Or something that would be equally difficult to walk through to accomplish anything.


Cynicism is a tricky line between discernment and despair. At least in discernment there is wisdom. At least in despair there can often be a thread of humility, a sense of relinquishing control. Cynicism is right in the stoic, immovable, and invisible middle of these two things.

If you have ever known me well, you most likely wouldn't associate this term with me. Most of my life has been spent in bubbly optimism, probably to the point of annoyance for some. I would wear my JESUS shirt to concurrent classes at SWOSU and preach to the smokers before class and go to Falls Creek and cry on Friday night harder than anyone else. Hope for the future was my lifeblood. It oozed out of me the way we ooze out carbon dioxide. The problem with being too hopeful is that when you are let down, it cuts a lot deeper. The fallen world we live in is practically constructed of disappointment, and for even the bubbliest, it doesn't take long to be worn down to a misanthropic stump.

In case you didn't believe me about the JESUS shirt. Or the bubbly optimism.

I've been sticking with a summer devotional through the book of Psalms set up by Reaching Her (you can like them on Facebook here). Yesterday I read Psalm 74, and these two verses immediately jumped out at me:

"Yet God my king is from of old
working salvation in the midst of the earth." 
Psalm 74:12, ESV (emphasis mine)

"Yours is the day, yours also the night."
Psalm 74:16, ESV (emphasis mine)

And today, right on the brink of tears and begging God to help me not give up on people, I read this:

"We give thanks to you, O God, for your name is near. 
We recount your wondrous deeds. 
'At the set time I will appoint
I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters 
and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars.' "
Psalm 75:1-3, ESV (emphasis mine)

We can't have hope or faith in the world. We can't, and shouldn't. However, we can have faith in God, the king working in the midst of it. We can have faith in God, without beginning, who has been keeping steady our tottering earth and people since He spoke it into existence. Whether the day is bright and shining or dark and hopeless, it is His. God doesn't need my unrealistic elation or my pouting doubt, but He does expect my obedient trust in Him.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we can wait expectantly for the redemption of all things that is happening, and will reach its fullness soon. Do not hold too tightly to hope. Do not hold too tightly to despair. Hold to our King of old, who holds all like it weighs nothing. I can't promise that everything will be all right in this lifetime, but Christ has promised that everything is going to be perfect, because He is.

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