As I studied in Hosea 7 – 10 this week the Lord reminded me of how easily we set up idols in our lives. Sometimes we do not recognize these as idols or even make them idols until they are removed and we have to choose what will we mourn? Will we mourn what we have lost to the point that we turn our back on God and forsake Him or will we accept the loss realizing we have all we need in Christ and turn our heart to the Lord and allow Him to turn our mourning into gladness?
As our family has faced the loss of loved ones and as we have battled cancer up close and personal again and again we have learned that there are so many things in life that we focus on, that we strive for, that we get upset about, that simply flat out don’t matter. This American Dream culture, in addition to this immediate satisfaction and you deserve it mentality, including this day of suffer-not teaching in the church offers us a plethora of idols to worship and we are so easily led astray. We have to be willing to allow the LORD to sift us and sift us often.
In the days of Hosea, Israel had grown in prosperity and military might. They had a booming economy and were reclaiming territory, but they refused to see that these were all the gifts of their merciful God. They took the credit for themselves and even ignorantly and arrogantly contributed their gain to their enlightened acceptance and worship of the false gods of the nations around them. They thought they were living their best lives, but in actuality they were deceived by their idolatry and were walking on the easy path to destruction. They forgot their God and rejected His Word.
Every good and perfect gift comes from God. Let us always be careful to not make the gift our god. I have learned in the past years that we can even be faced with the temptation of turning the loss of a loved one and death itself into an idol. When my Daddy passed I was hit with the reality that the man who had named me, defined me, provided for me, and loved me my entire life was gone. I now had a choice to make. Would I set him, his death, and my grief up as an idol in my heart or would I trust that the LORD my God was enough? Would I believe that He was still with me and that in truth He was the One who named me, defined me, provided for me, and loved me my entire life, He just chose to do so through my Daddy.
When we lose something or someone and we work through the emotions of that loss let us run to the LORD not away from Him. Let us trust always that He is enough. Let us not mourn and cry over the things of this world. Let us not allow our pursuit of “good things” to turn us away from pursuing the One and Only Good God. Let us not forget even in death and the loss of a loved one that this world is not our home. Let us focus on more on making sure our loved ones today have heard the gospel and have had an opportunity to know the LORD so that they may have victory and life even in death.
I have learned that there is no need to cry over that which moth and rust can destroy. I have learned that even though I might weep over the death of my loved ones that weeping shall only last for the night if they knew Jesus for death is merely a door into eternity. How can I forever mourn someone who is eternally perfectly alive? Let my mourning always be turned to dancing for I will see them again!
If I mourn, let me mourn those that refuse to hear and refuse to believe in the only name given to us by which we may be saved, the name of Jesus. If I mourn, let me mourn when I catch myself clinging to the things of this world and building treasures on earth instead of in heaven. If I mourn, let me mourn when I forget that but by the grace of God there go I. If I mourn, let me mourn when I allow the pride of life and the lust of the flesh, to tempt me to be unfaithful to my LORD. If I mourn, let me mourn when I fall short to be obedient to the command of Christ to go and make disciples. If I mourn, let me mourn my faithless heart. Yet even in this mourning let it bring me to my LORD because He is able to redeem and restore that which I mourn. He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him.