“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Prov 3:5-6).
by Marjorie George
The billboard that I currently most love to hate is on a strip of IH10 between Loop 410 and downtown in San Antonio. It’s a heavily traveled piece of highway, so this billboard 30 feet up in the sky gets lots of play. Pity.
The sign has on it two pictures – an apple and an orange. The wording reads:
“You are an apple
and you married an orange.
And then the name and phone number of a divorce attorney.
I want to stop my car, climb up there, scribble out the attorney’s name, and write
“Make fruit salad.”
It worries me that the unwritten message on this sign echoes the creeping self-centeredness of our society, the insidious egotism that says I need to take care of numero uno because no one else is going to.
Yet I wonder if the “me first” attitude is driven by selfishness or by fear. My suspicion is that most of us live in fear. Afraid that another will get the position we feel we deserve; afraid that we won’t be recognized for our efforts; afraid that we will indeed fail; afraid that there really won’t be enough (money, recognition, power, good health, support, Medicare) to go around, and I need to be sure I get mine.
It feels like the times are not in our hands. No wonder we have a need to take care of ourselves. We seem to be at the mercy of things beyond our control. And some days we seem to be losing the battle.
The psalmists felt it, too. We relate to it in Psalm 31:
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye is consumed with sorrow” (vs 9)
“My life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing” (vs 10)
“I am as useless as a broken pot” (vs 12)
The fact is, brothers and sisters, we are not in control. And clutching it all to ourselves is simply an illusion of security. Worse news, the antidote to this mounting anxiety is wild abandon into the arms of God. Climb to the highest peak, unhook the harness, and throw yourself over the cliff (speaking metaphorically; don’t try this at home).
And when we pick ourselves up and see that we are still alive, we will understand the song of the psalmist:
“From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name. (Ps 33:13-21)