There are many things I wish about me. I wish that I was not so hard-headed. God has an awful hard time leading me. Sometimes I am so "dense" that I forget what He taught me in the past--over, and over, and over again.

I wish that I was not so forgetful. God, I deeply apologize for making it necessary to reteach me the same lesson--over and over and over again. When my children were at home, they frustrated me because they forgot lessons already learned. God must get terribly frustrated with me!

I wish I more readily trusted the lessons God taught me. I deeply value some of the most difficult experiences in my life: being forced by the authorities to cease work as a missionary; experiencing the trauma of reverse culture shock; having close friends become determined opponents. While I never want to endure them again, God used each experience to teach me powerful lessons. Yet, in "crunch times," I find it so difficult to trust those valued lessons. In "crunch times," feelings overwhelm understanding.

We live in an incredibly complex society. We live in the shadows of overwhelming cultural wickedness. We stagger through the devastation of weak and failed relationships. We witness and experience so many heartaches and so much suffering.

Our country uses "cosmetics" to distort reality. Each day America "puts on its face" to create a glamorous appearance. It skillfully uses the "cosmetics" of pleasure, fantasy, and escapism to convince us that it knows the secret to "the good life." But America's "good life" reduces relationships to rubble piles. "The good life" is ultra selfish.

Life is so complicated! It is so deceptive! It is so demanding! Culture's deceitful "makeup face" is devastating. Its deceptions create suffering, betrayal, and misery. The innocent are deceived before they are old enough to gain understanding.

Often the needs of the devastated overwhelm us. Those whose hearts wish to share the real hope of a compassionate Savior see the needs and despair. At that moment caring hearts are the most vulnerable to Satan's discouragement.

At that moment we must trust a truth as old as mankind, as old as earthly evil. Those in despair must learn to trust this truth. Those with caring hearts must continue to trust this truth. What truth? "We can't. God can." The solution will not be found by our playing God. The solution is not found in our brilliance, wisdom, and perceptions. The solution is found by learning how to let God be God in our lives and relationships.

Perhaps life's most critical lessons are learned from two simple realizations. "I can't. God can." From those two realizations we understand what God knew from the first sin: we need a Savior. In all matters of salvation, "We can't. God can."

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 March 2000

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