Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Resentful Envy

I took Samuel to Cub Scouts last night, and I had a conversation with one of the leaders that rattled me. He was describing some of the "struggles" in finding a house for his family for around $200,000. As I let him talk, I grew in resentment and anger - not toward him, but toward God and the providential limits (financial, relational, to name a couple) he has placed on us.

I took a walk after I got home from Scouts, and felt furious. I vented my anger toward God, and I sensed his care and attentive listening. Slowly his acceptance began to melt my hard heart. I realized a "hypothetical" choice was before me: would I rather have a deeper understanding and experience of God or have a successful career, material goodies and popularity? Not that I can make a choice like that, but it shook me to think I would choose (heartily!) the successful life in that moment. I began to realize how foolish such a choice would be, and how such a choice would ruin me and break the heart of God.

This morning I was reading in Allender & Longman's book The Cry of the Soul, and my reflections were confirmed as I began to read their chapter on "resentful envy/jealousy." They pointed to Psalm 73, which I took the rest of my morning time meditating on. Particularly verses 21-26:

  When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
  I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
  You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
  Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
  My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I want to want God more than anything else, and his mercy is bringing me closer to that reality. I don't really have a choice about what limits his providence determines for me; the choice I have is whether or not I will, within those limits, know and love God.

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1 comment:

Andy said...

This is such a good word, brother. I have come to that psalm many times as well to be reminded of why I am on the path I am on right now. Thanks for reminding me again.