January 26, 2016

A Simple Life

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:25–30)
Chambers says, “A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us — if we are not simple.”

In my mind, when referring to a person, simple means without much sense, a simpleton. In the Old Testament, this is usually the sense of it; a simple person is someone without intelligence or common sense. However, in the New Testament, my ESV Bible gives only one use (simplicity) and in this verse it is the word for holiness:
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
Chambers uses the term “simple statement” in the sense of being uncomplicated, of relying on the Lord in a simple trust that does not question what my Father is doing or why. I know He is taking of me, much like a child trusts that her loving father is doing the same so there is no need to question or fret.

Chambers asks how this simplicity happens, then answers his own question. I am simple when I receive the Spirit of God, recognizing and relying on Him in obedience as He presents truth to me through His Word. When I do that, life becomes amazingly uncomplicated or simple.

In the Matthew passage, Jesus talks about God caring for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. They don’t think about how to please God; they just live by the principle of life in them. To apply that, the principle of life in me wholly rests on the fact that Jesus lives in me. As I live in right relationship to Him, never thinking that I know better, never letting the cares of the world become an issue, and never forgetting that “much more” care of God, then my life becomes incredible simple. Like lilies in the field, I can grow where I am planted, live according to the new life God has given me, and know that He is taking care of everything else.

These past few days with my husband’s life on the line, we have talked how life has become simple, focused, reduced to the basics. It is ‘one foot ahead of the other’ without much else to consider. We do what the medical people tell us, and trust the Lord for His will to be done, hoping that it will be an outcome of living, not dying. I come home, eat, sleep, take care of the essentials, and refuse all confusing or troublesome distractions that pull me away from the simplicity of trusting my Father to take care of every detail.

Living through a challenge such as this is a lesson in the simplicity that Chambers writes about. For us, it is not a chosen simplicity, but this is often the way that God teaches His children. I don’t pick the classroom, but He puts me in it and teaches me vital things about life with Him. In the experience of these ‘lessons,’ I can see a better way, a deeper way to walk with God.

Also, these days of simplicity make me realize that depth is not about the complexities of theology or the debates that go on in the echelons of higher learning. It is about laying aside issues and questions and separating myself to total trust in every area of life, trusting my Father to sort it out and keep me under His protective wings every moment of every day, no matter what is happening. It is being like a child.

Bob is feeling better today; no fever, pulse is slower, blood oxygen is level. He had 3-4 short walks without gasping for air. He is still getting oxygen, still having nose bleeds from it, and his feet are very swollen. He slept four hours in one stretch during the night, thanks to half a sleeping pill. The doctor is concerned about the slow progress, so has ordered a CT scan on those clogged lungs sometime tomorrow. The high point today was the pizza brought in by our dear friends . . .  and later on I brought him a decaf coffee from Tim’s — simple stuff to make him smile.

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