Learning to Live in the Tension


Posted by: Misti McHatton

Tagged in: share, ReadyChristian, Personal Crisis, Leadership, care

Frayed RopeAs I sit down to write this blog/devotional my thoughts are swirling…should I share about a sermon my pastor preached this past week on getting the answer to the question asked by Gideon when he asked, “Why are we having so much trouble if the Lord is with us?”

Should I share some reflections on a quote by Lincoln that was brought back to mind after the shooting in Colorado? The statement that questioned God’s will between sides. The statement that says, “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to affect his purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true; that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power on the minds of the now contestants, he could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.”

Should I reflect on a passage I read in a book this past week that explains how God calls us to live in the tension between humanity and Christ-likeness?

Should we discuss how God uses situations and circumstances to draw us closer to him, to teach us and grow us into the person that he has destined us to be; our potential that often feels so far away from reality.

After typing these thoughts, I believe the answer is yes. All of the above. It seems that the various thoughts that I have been reflecting on this past week all lead to the same conclusions.

  • God is God. I am not.
  • God likes and allows tension, trials, circumstances, and crisis because it ultimately leads us further down the road in our search for Him.
  • God’s shoulders are big enough to handle our human questions, doubts, insecurities, and fears.

Donald Miller, the author of “Blue Like Jazz” explains: “If the Devil can sink a man’s mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.” My challenge this week has been to embrace the tension, intentionally engage God and what He is doing in my life and in the lives around me.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”

The application for us today is to:

  1. Actively engage with what God is doing. Whether that is helping someone clean out their home following the flooding in Anthem, reaching out to someone who is struggling with their Faith, or doesn’t have any faith to stand on, purpose to make a difference in at least one other person’s world this next week.
  2. Always live ready to be used by God. As the quote above alludes, it is extremely easy to get lulled into habit. Make a conscious effort to be aware of what God is speaking to us in the moment.

One of the beautiful things I love about God is that he is always working in us to prepare us for things that we can’t even imagine will come across our path. Often times I look back over my life and wonder “why in the world did I go through that experience?” In daily situations, conversations with friends, and life in general, I often find that I draw upon those experiences and have gained a level of understanding that allows God’s wisdom to be spoken into a situation. Being diligent to complete what God puts in front of us, such as personal Biblical Readiness, often is God preparing us for things to come. Part of the lull of habit is living in the “short term” without a thought to the future or to eternity. Yet, that is where God calls us to live…in the tension between the two. Actively engaging in one while preparing for the other.

What are some ways you have learned to live in the tension between the now and the eternal?