I don't know why I remember it so clearly, but I do. When I was in 6th grade I learned the lesson of CAUSE and EFFECT in class. It was a science class and I recall the discussion being about whether an a specific results occurred because of something specific, or if it was a result of outside manipulation or interference. (You'd think I'd remember something more fun like playing dodgeball in gym or finally being able to go to the high school football games on Friday night!)
Cause and effect. Something happens that specifically and solely causes something else to happen.
In science a causal relationship has to meet three criteria:
- Temporal precedents: proving that what caused the effect happened first.
- Covariation: proving that there is an actual relationship between the cause and effect.
- No Plausible Variant: proving that there is nothing else causing the effect.
So, why the science lesson?
Today I have prayed with a friend, wept for a family, and dreamed with a team:
- A very close friend of mine has an extremely stressful meeting come up this weekend. It is one of those "my-whole-world-could-change" kind of meetings. It's the kind of meeting that could be amazingly positive, or it could be excruciatingly disappointing. Either way it's big.
- A family in our church whose faith I deeply appreciate and respect discovered crushing news about their pregnancy today, leaving them heartbroken and grieving.
- Some of our church's core leadership team met for a few hours tonight to discuss our current land purchase and we prayed about what the "best next step" is as we pursue God's vision for a performing arts center in Bluffton.
For some reason, in all three cases I can't stop recalling Psalm 37:
It might sound strange, but in thinking about all three circumstances I keep seeing the cause and effect of being a follower of Jesus. If you'll take a minute, read through this passage of scripture with a cause/effect filter:
CAUSE: Trust in the Lord and do good ... Take delight in the Lord ... Commit everything you do to the Lord ... Trust Him ... Be still in the presence of the Lord ... Wait patiently ...
EFFECT: Then you will live safely in the land and prosper ... He will give you your hearts desire ... He will help you ... He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun ... He will act ...
This is a scientific theory at work in the heart of man. When you are leaning into Jesus, when you have a relationship with Him, when you're only hope is to hope in Him, the effect of that relationship is staggering.
I guess I'm hearing that so much today, from stories of struggle to stories of triumph, because our God is faithful. Always. When it's good. When it's bad. When it's hard. When there is loss. When there are victories. When pain is unbearable. When grief is overwhelming. When doubt is gripping. When fear is assailing. When the future looks bright. When the sky is the limit. When all the world is for you or all the world is against you ...
It's not that you'll always get exactly what you want, or that everything will go your way. It's not that all the stars will line up, you'll win the lottery, your favorite team will win the big game, and your favorite chocolate dessert will be calorie-less!
It's better than that.
The God of the Universe will be for you. He will help you. He will act on your behalf.
He will be faithful. To you.
Even when you have a huge meeting coming up ...
Even when it seems like you've lost everything ...
Even when it seems like you have nothing to lose ...
He will be faithful to you. Always.
And do want to know the mind-blowing thing to me that this passage teaches? The cause of His faithfulness is your trust!
We trust in Him; He never leaves us ... that's a cause and effect I'll always be happy to remember.
Perfect Father in Heaven, I really don't know why You do the things you do. I often don't get it. I don't get why the bad stuff happens and I even question why a lot of the good stuff happens. Why it happens to me. Why it happens to anybody.
That being said, I'm grateful for the way You do what you do. The way You think, the way You act, even the way You teach. But I'm most grateful for the way You love - without fail or compromise.
Father, help me to trust in You, to delight in You, to commit everything to You. Help me to wait in Your presence patiently for You. And thank you in advance for what You are going to do on my behalf.
Lord, I trust You ... most of the time ... help me to make it all of the time, the same way you are faithful to me ... all the time.