(This “Application“ column goes with the Bible lesson for May 31, 2020: “The Look of Integrity”)
By David Faust
I am approximately six inches taller than my wife. Most of the time our height difference doesn’t matter, and it comes in handy when Candy asks me to reach the dishes she keeps on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet.
Our difference of height creates discomfort, though, when we drive each other’s cars. Candy adjusts the seat of her Honda Civic to fit her shorter frame, so when I get in, the steering wheel presses so close to my chest that I can barely squeeze into the driver’s seat. And in my Toyota Corolla, I keep the front seat so far back from the console that she has to stretch out her arms like Superman to reach the steering wheel. To drive each other’s cars, we have to adjust the seat, and then remember to put it back into its original position when we finish driving.
The Winds of Change
There are deeper lessons we can learn from this example. When you and I find it difficult to settle into the driver’s seat of life, it’s not surprising that we feel a bit uncomfortable. God never intended for us to control the steering wheel in the first place.
The ministry environment I have been accustomed to for many years has been changing rapidly. I’m guessing you have noticed. Not only is the culture around us shifting dramatically, but so is the corner of God’s kingdom in which I have lived and moved and had my being. Many trusted leaders have retired or died. My spiritual eyes are adjusting to an unfamiliar landscape as colleges, conventions, and other prominent features of the Restoration Movement that have helped to shape my walk with Christ respond to the winds of change.
Cincinnati Christian University has closed its doors. The North American Christian Convention has morphed into a new ministry called Spire. A public high school now stands on the site where Standard Publishing’s magazines, children’s literature, and Bible study books were printed for decades. The Lookout has merged with Christian Standard magazine, and so, for the first time since 1888, it is not a stand-alone publication. And during 24 years of The Lookout’s existence, I’ve written a weekly column for it. In some cases, these developments were predictable and some might say inevitable. But alongside many others who care about our movement, I feel a bit disoriented as I watch our beloved institutions, and the people who have served in them, endure the impact of changing times.
And yet . . . God is unchanging. His Word is true, his purpose constant, his love unrelenting. Human institutions come and go, but God’s faithfulness will never fade away.
I am flawed, fallible, and shortsighted. I cannot always understand the ways of God, but like Job, “I know that my redeemer lives,” and with Job, I insist, “Till I die, I will not deny my integrity” (Job 19:25; 27:5). Nor will I deny my faith in the Lord or abandon the ideals of our movement, which in their best moments our leaders and institutions have espoused and embodied.
God is infinitely taller than I am. Instead of adjusting the seat to fit my own comfort, I should adjust to his leading. I need to let go of the steering wheel, trust the Lord to do the driving, and move forward in faith.
Personal Challenge: Meditate on Job 27:5: “Till I die, I will not deny my integrity.” Write that verse as a heading in your journal or on a sheet of paper and then jot down any adustments you will make, with God’s power and wisdom, to live with integrity this week.