What a wonderful day yesterday was. I started the day with a very productive blogging session; I spent some time playing with the puppies and praying. I had time to practice piano and then I took my daughter to the movies to see Oz the Great and Powerful. I got home had some supper and was getting ready to do some reading when I noticed the letter on my table. It had come in the afternoon post. The return address was from the Mass State Department of Revenue. Since I have already filed my taxes and they were e-filed with a direct deposit I knew right off what the letter was.
When I am on the highway I generally set my cruise control. It saves gas by keeping me at a steady pace and with it I can always be sure I am within the speed limit. You know those moments when you are in cruise control, when you know because you’re in cruise you are within the limits of the law? Yet even knowing that, as soon as you see a State Police car in the distance your first instinct is to slam on the brakes and slow down because you fear you still could be caught doing something wrong. That is the exact feeling I had as I opened the assessment letter last night. I have been responsible with my taxes. I have an accountant who knows clergy tax law. I keep records and they are easily reproducible. Yet my first thought last night was “I am being audited! It’s the end of the world! I will owe my entire life’s savings and be destitute…out on the street!”
The world is full of evil reports. Evil reports are the threatenings and sometimes the realizations of trouble which a common occurrence in our universe. They are: the troubling doctors report, the divorce papers, the bad report card, the pink slip and a thousand other little messages that we are not safe in this world. Jesus went so far as to tell us..” In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33
The question is not, “Will trouble or evil reports come?” The question is “What will we do with them when they arrive?”
We have some choices. We can:
1. Receive the evil report and give up. This choice leads us to fatalism…doing nothing because we believe that the evil thing is inevitable.
2. Receive the evil report and worry. This choice leads us to fear. With this choice we help the evil report to grow into a monster that consumes all of our life and feeds on our hope until we are nothing more than burned out shells. In this scenario we become paranoid self-fulfilling prophecies of the terrible things we fear.
3. Hear the evil report but refuse to accept it on the basis of God’s promises. This choice leads us to radical faith that wrestles with God until He grants us a blessing.
The world is full of evil and evil reports. But it is also filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Jesus did say that in this world we would have trouble but He also said “Take heart for I have overcome the world!” John 16:33
I am not going to allow myself to worry about the tax assessment thingy I have coming up. In fact I am believing that this is going to turn out for my blessing and for a witness.
What helps you to disregard the evil reports in your life?