Die to the Status Quo
…morning by morning new mercies I see…[i]
Thomas O. Chisholm
The “status quo” refers to the current state of affairs in our lives, and is often built upon the way things have always been. Perhaps stress has always caused us to overeat, and we have given up attempts to change this response we know is wrong but feel helpless to counter. Repeated, weakening attempts to fix what is wrong haven’t brought forth change, and we are in danger of giving way to hopelessness if we accept the status quo.
Obstacles arise, things over which we have no control. Circumstances seem poised to develop into sad or bad events and we feel afraid. The enemy tells us it is no use trying, quoting such axioms as this: “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you are getting.” It is a travesty when the devil succeeds in sowing seeds of hopelessness that develop into to a cessation of effort. Think of a miner who is trapped underground. He chooses a wall and uses his pick to break apart solid rock with repeated blows. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he may finally break through the barrier and into freedom.
We are better off than our imaginary miner, because the Lord shows us where to work and puts His tools in our hands. We are members of the Lord’s crew, not foremen, and if He tells us to try, we need to try. If we keep doing what we are doing, we may finally break through that rock wall that has blocked our freedom for so long.
The God Who provides renewed mercies every morning encourages us to hope, and so we mustn’t stop trying. Like a chain that is knotted…like a cord that must stretch to reach an outlet…like a toddler who races away from his parent but then turns and runs back again; change can happen very quickly. The knot will untangle, the cord will snap free of obstacles and connect to power, the toddler will run to his mother’s waiting arms.
Can lifelong patterns of responding to stress be changed? Can fear be replaced with faith, weakness with strength, and grief with joy? What about circumstances that hem us in, rob our peace, and tempt our hearts toward sins of resentment against the human vessels through which difficult things arrive? What of weariness and grief, frustrations and heart hurts? Time and again Scripture promises that transformation is possible: "…they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).
The antidote for discouragement is hope, and faith blots out fear. When we are in the midst of difficulties that challenge, we honor our God if we nevertheless hold firm to hope of a new status quo, one in which Jesus is Lord of all.
Pray: Lord, grant me hope as I lift my eyes to You. I trust You and I believe; please increase my trust and my faith. Lord, please cause those threatening clouds to dissipate, and shine the light of Your protective presence around us. Be in my perceptions and my responses, set a guard over my mouth, let me bless and not cause harm, speak in faith and not doubt, confidence and not fear, and truth unvarnished by resentment or anxiety. I lift my eyes to You, my Lord and my God. Please grant me courage and strength to keep trying. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord!
[i] From the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness, public domain