Disturb Us, Lord
“Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose” (Rom_1:28, The Message)
There was this guy, a young reporter eager to be the first with some breaking news story, who got caught in the middle of a torrential downpour in West Texas. The rain fell so hard and the waters rose so fast, that people only had time to scurry to their rooftops. The young reporter was on a roof with a lady, watching the powerful waters sweep things pass them.
There were cows, and cars, and clumps of assorted shrubs whisking by, when the reporter spotted a crisp, clean white Stetson cowboy hat moving along in the current. He watched in amazement as the hat suddenly stopped, turn 180 degrees and started moving back against the tide. Then, it stopped again, turned around and flowed with the water back downstream. And, yet once more it stopped, turned back around and started going against the flow of water.
The young reporter grabbed his pen a notepad and said, “That’s a miracle! I’m going to write a story about the miracle of the floating Stetson!”
“That’s no miracle,” the woman sitting next to him on the roof replied, “that’s my husband Cecil. He said he was gonna mow that lawn come hell or high water!”
This dumb story is based upon a fact we all know – nothing ever drifts upstream. It always, always, always drifts downstream.
The same is true of our lives. Left to ourselves we will always settle for the least, not the best. Like a river unattended, we will take the path of least resistance, and suppose it had been the best route all along. We so easily set our lives on cruise control and zip along merrily, merrily — unaware that we are in fact drifting farther and farther away from God.
Today’s verse says, “Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose.”
Woe unto us if God cuts us loose! For the only direction we have left to go is away from God.
Reaching back in history to a time when paganism and hedonism was on the rise, the apostle Paul shows us what that looks like when God cuts us loose.
“Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies.
“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. “That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.
“And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.” (Rom 1:22-27 The Message)
Paul sums it up in a single sentence: ““Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose” (Rom 1:28 The Message). And that’s when all hell broke loose.
One cannot help but note how these words seem to be taken from the newspapers of today, yet they were written over 2,000 years ago. Whether it be in an ancient time and a land far away, or in modern times right in our own space – when we continually refuse to acknowledge God, then He will quit bothering them and cut them loose to run their own way. And the results are always the same.
Oh, May it never be said of anyone of us that God quit bothering us!
Disturb us, Lord!
The famous prayer by Sir Francis Drake would find good use upon our lips in these indifferent days; I offer it with an encouragement that you pray it in earnest until the Lord sets your feet on the higher way, the nobler way, the better way — and that He never quits bothering you; never lets you run loose from His purpose for your life.
“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little; when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
“Disturb us, Lord, when, with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; and, having fallen in love with life as we know it, we have ceased to dream of eternity; And in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
“Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
“We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”
Sir Francis Drake -1577