Do You Have the Right Priorities?
In his classic passage of Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon says "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." This is so profoundly true of so many things that mentally grasping it and understanding it should be considered a major milestone in the intellectual and emotional development of children. Yet so many adults seem to miss it. There exists a natural order by which things come to pass, organisms develop, and events unfold, and wise is the one who recognizes when such a situation arises and uses that knowledge to work cooperatively with this unbending rule. The universe is like wood because it has a grain to it, and one will either be foolish and try to cut across that grain, or be wise and work along with it. The job of scientists is to discern that grain to the universe and map it out, while the job of engineers and artisians is to work with, and exploit, that grain.
While this is true of physical and natural matters, it is even more true of spiritual matters! While you may have an agenda in which certain faults and thought patterns are more embarassing or limiting to you than others, thus requiring first attention, the Holy Spirit Symbiote within you knows better: merely because He has taken up residence within you without having blown open the container (i.e. you) doesn't mean that He has lost his capabilities of being all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. And for which we should count ourselves fortunate, for there would be little to no benefit to us ignorant, powerless, and limited human beings to be communicating and cooperating with a God who is equally limited.
Thus, if you are concentrating on reducing the variance of one particular problem, and it doesn't seem to be reducing, maybe you should mentally look around at some of the other problems you have and see if they, for some "unusual" reason, "seem" to be reducing themselves. The Holy Spirit knows the inherent order of how things should proceed, and it just might be that, before He can start eliminating the problem failing that you think is most important, He has to reduce and eliminate problems, issues, and compulsions that, by the natural order of things, need to get cleared away first.
The following passage from Nehemiah 4:7-11 illustrates how work ordained and blessed by God can fall victim to not conforming to the natural order of things:
7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. 10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. 11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
The process of working on the wall of Jerusalem (a very good work) inevitably generated waste that began to pile up around the work area. In the push to finish the wall (a very good work), they devoted all their strength to building and failed to organize a waste disposal detail to handle the trash that would pile up. They indeed had made a lot of progress (a very good thing), and consequently had a lot of rubbish to show for it. Unfortunately, when their enemies decided to get off their tails and do something about these pesky Jews who dared to build up a wall to (horrors!) defend themselves, they had a relatively easier task because there was lots of trash behind which they could hide and set up ambushes. The trash the Jews failed to clear away during the time of relative peace could not be eliminated because there was not enough strength in the workers to do it, there was a lot of it, and because their enemies were hiding among the trash piles, it became too dangerous to pick it up and carry it away from the work site. Worse yet, the trash started getting in the way of building the wall, doing more to stop a very good work than the enemies could hope to do themselves.
This was a situation where an otherwise good work got into trouble because someone failed to add, to their good intentions, some good sense. And part and parcel of having good sense is knowing the order in which things have to be done, and insisting that the less glamorous tasks still need doing.
As of the writing of this essay, I am struggling with fears about how to deal with theological professionals who would oppose the spread of Symbiosis in the church out of various, and foolish, reasons. I can deal with the sensible, the prudent, and the wise, but fools who are in power are, at the moment and in my view, way beyond my capabilities to deal with, and I am scared.
Dealing with fools is one thing, and my fear of dealing with them is another, and it logically follows that I will be in no position to handle the human side of dealing with the former if I do not deal, ahead of time, with the human side of the latter. I have seen perfectly competent and capable students unable to grasp the concept of computer programming because they are afraid. The entire field of Computer Science is aware of this, and the amount of money, work, effort, and sweat being spent to overcome it is appallingly large and vitally necessary.
The Holy Spirit within me is very much aware of this problem of mine and is actively working on it. It appears that, due to the 'natural order of things', eliminating the big irrational fears requires eliminating the smaller irrational fears first. Thus, I too get the impression (illusion) that my big problem with fear is not being reduced, but I do notice that smaller fears have been eliminated. For instance, I was recently challenged by God to get myself ready to teach the 144,000 Jews of the tribulation period to defend themselves symbiotically. This, of course, would require that I stay behind while the rest of the Church gets raptured to safety. A silly thought, of course, but the Holy Spirit, being in my heart, was able to make the simulation quite real. I found myself quite willing to do the task, and started mentally compiling the curriculum and dealing with the logistics of jumping from classes of 100 students to 10,000 when the Holy Spirit called it off and pointed out that I wasn't afraid of the Tribulation any more. For a former Seventh Day Adventist who had it drilled into his head that, no there was no rapture, yes we were going through the tribulation, and yes it would be a hell of a lot worse than those who believe in the rapture paint it, this was a stunning disposal of a religious paranoia that had literally crippled me in the past. And it was done without any conscious action on my part. And I wish you were there when, while folding the laundry, I had to grab, with my bare hand, a cockroach that had hidden in the basket and had scurred out onto the bed: My mother was deathly afraid of insects, and my childhood home in Southern California seemed to attract insects of such size and fantastical shapes that I was hard put to identify them, so I had picked up that fear as well. My wife is so deathly disgusted of cockroaches that she had purchased and installed toilets from American Standard guaranteed to flush away 24 golf balls with one flush, for she would have no more of this "cockroach body still floating in the toilet bowl after two flushes" nonsense: she wanted a toilet that, when I (not she) tossed a cockroach into and flushed, she wanted that cockroach GONE. You should have seen my face when, after having tossed that cockroach into the toilet, highly irritated that, having tried to crush it, gooey white milk guts hadn't gushed out of it, the Holy Spirit nudged me with the thought of "Ummm, what did you just do?" I stared at my hand as stupidly as a six month-old baby does after realizing it had a hand.
My experiences show that it is quite possible that the Holy Spirit, being God and knowing the order of the natural world, may be working in a different order, on a different schedule, and with a different set of priorities than you are. Obviously, when I discovered that all of the above was happening, I gave my grateful, thankful, and enthusiastic thanks and permission for Him to continue! This was a grace that I did not consciously plan on, but because I was paying attention, I noticed the work being done and was able to ensure that the process would continue by thanking God for it, agreeing with and accepting that which was already done, and giving permission for Him to continue in the same lines. I feel confident that the big stuff will be taken care of because I see the small stuff being cleared away.
We are told by people of all religious persuasions, including Christianity, that we fail to see the small blessings God gives daily, and the small miracles God works daily, because we do not look for them. This is so very sadly true! If you have ambitions of doing what I am doing, which is listening for God to give insights and solutions to problems that you can pass on to benefit others, then I congratulate your desire and hope you succeed. But that can only happen if you stay aware and pay attention! You'd be amazed at the number of scientific discoveries that were made when a scientist was aware, paying attention, and happened to notice some small or odd effect. Orested noticed the needle of a magnet twitching when he turned an electric circuit on and off during class, discovering the relationship between electricity and magnetism that became the cornerstone of the Electric Power industry. Alexander Fleming was straightening up his lab and noticed, while cleaning up some petri dishes, that some mold was surrounded by a circle clear of other fungi growing in the same dish, thereby discovering penicillin and a class of drug, antibiotics, that will save more people until the cure for cancer is discovered. Roentgen was puttering around the lab when he noticed a screen of phosphors glowing near a Crooke's tube that had been wrapped in black paper. What was happening and how did what was happening get through that paper? This is how he discovered X-rays, the most valuable and inexpensive non-invasive medical investigative instrument discovered to date. Becquerel noticed that smudges on wrapped photographic plates exposed to salts containing uranium were just as vivid when put in a drawer than when exposed to sunlight. By this he discovered radioactivity and jump-started the field that gave birth to the Nuclear Age. What great things spring from noticing the small things!
So maybe you should abandon any agendas you may have that come from worrying about the opinions and fashions of others, and start asking the Spirit to help you notice His agenda and His working within you and around you.
The power of God runs through wires hidden in the walls of the Universe. Stop. Look. Listen.
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