My Duh Truths

Several years ago, I began making a list of what I call “Duh Truths.” Duh Truths are truths that, when I finally understand them, are so simple and obvious that I feel like hitting my head and exclaiming, “Well, DUH!” Sometimes I thought I understood the truths before, and I didn’t realize that I didn’t really understand them until I suddenly DO understand them (got that?). It’s like the truth, “Jesus Loves Me.” I’ve heard that all my life and thought I already knew it, but I didn’t really understand it, and I didn’t really operate out of it, until a few years ago when I REALLY understood it–-at least on a deeper level. I think we will spend all eternity learning truths about God at deeper and deeper levels, and I’m sure that at each new level, I will think, “I didn’t understand it before, but NOW I understand it.”

Whenever I learn a new Duh Truth, I put it on my list. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my Duh Truths, so I go back through them. It’s not that I ever TOTALLY forget them–”forgetting” sounds so permanent. It’s more like I ”disremember” them at times and need to “re-remember” them. I thought I’d share them with you and explain them to you. I will group some of them together because some are very similar, but they are slightly different–-sort of like different shades of the same color. Here they are:

  • God is God

Duh. It’s obvious that God is God, right? Yet, sometimes I seem to forget that HE is God and not me. I forget that He is the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe.

I read in the book, Authentic Faith:

Remember: “fear of God” always has two poles: awe and love. The complete Christian response to God is one that entails not just personal trust and affection (we’re very good at stressing this) but also awe and reverence–even terror at the thought of offending him (this is what sometimes gets ignored in modern teaching). While we don’t want believers to wallow only in dread and terror of God, it is just as much a theological error to teach them to have affection for God without a corresponding attitude of reverence and awe.

While we have a unique and wonderful love relationship with God, a relationship in which we can refer to Him as “Abba” (Daddy) and “friend,” we also must remember that He IS God. I have come to appreciate the Jewish honoring of God. They have such a respect for Him that they do not want to treat Him with dishonor by using His name callously or flippantly. Therefore, they refer to Him as HaShem (the Name) and write His name as G-d. I have prayed that I would have this same sort of respect for His name. He is my “Daddy” and friend, yes, but He’s also my God and King and Creator.

  • He is in control
  • He is not accountable to me
  • He doesn’t work for me
  • I do not have veto power

I have been guilty of sort of ordering God around as if I am in control and He works for me. Sometimes I want Him to explain the tiniest details of His plans to me, and submit them for my signature of approval. But God is God. HE is in control, not me. He knows more than I do, His thoughts and ways are far above mine, and He doesn’t have to explain or justify anything to me. He doesn’t work for me. He’s not accountable to me. He doesn’t need my approval to carry out His plans. I do not have veto power.

  • I cannot determine what is “good” or “bad” in my life
  • It’s not up to me to choose what I will accept in my life or what I will reject
  • Everything in my life is a gift from God and is to be received with thanksgiving

Sometimes I get into the habit of wanting to choose what happens to me. I want to say, “This is good, I’ll accept this,” and “No, no, no! This is bad. I don’t want it in my life.” I’ve discovered that I really do not have ability to discern what is “good” or “bad.”

We had a friend who theorized that when Adam and Eve ate from the tree in the Garden of Eden, the “knowledge of good and evil” that they gained was that they began to label some things “good” and other things “bad” instead of accepting everything from the hand of God and seeing everything as a gift from Him. I think he is right.

So many circumstances that I thought were “bad” turned out to have such tremendous spiritual benefit in my life that I came to see them as very good. Other circumstances that I thought were “good” turned out to be very detrimental to me. Since I am not able to tell which things are, in reality, good and which are bad, it is not up to me to choose what circumstances I accept or reject in my life. Instead, I must trust God in everything and see everything as a gift from Him. Again, I do not have veto power. I do have the power to embrace or resist what He is doing in me, but that’s as far as it goes.

  • God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect

Sometimes God’s timing seems all wrong. Like when Lazarus was sick and Jesus came to him four days “too late”–after he had died and been buried. Martha complained to Jesus, when He FINALLY showed up, “Lord, if you had been here sooner my brother would not have died….”

Several years ago, EJ and I emptied our bedroom of furniture and began redoing the wood floors. We slept on a mattress in our small spare bedroom while we worked on the floors. Shortly after we began this project, EJ told his brother that he could live with us for awhile. The same weekend that his brother was moving in, we were having EJ’s family’s Christmas party at our house. So I had to do a lot of cleaning to prepare for the party, we had to find a place for all my brother-in-law’s stuff, and we had no place for him to sleep except on the living room couch. As I was sanding the bedroom floor, I jokingly said to God, “You know, Father, sometimes Your timing really stinks.” I heard Him say VERY clearly (and more seriously), “My timing is ALWAYS perfect.”

We want God to move at OUR speed, doing things when WE want them, AS we want them done. We want instant results. But as the third chapter of Authentic Faith says:

In spite of our obsession with instant results, we serve a God whose calendar moves by millennia, not minutes, and who thinks in terms of generations, not seasons. Unless we understand this about God–that he moves by millennia, not minutes–we will never understand his ways with us. Peter is very clear: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8)…God’s blessings do not always come with the speed of a bullet, but rather with the slow, steady approach of a glacier…God is not merely concerned with results, but also with character–and few things produce character like learning how to wait…Waiting, for the believer, is not the futile and desperate act of those who have no other options, but rather a confident trust that eventually God will set things right.

God may sometimes seem to be “four days too late” according to our time schedule, but He is ALWAYS on time according to His. His timing is perfect.

  • I am a vessel of God to be used (or not) as He chooses

Sometimes it is very difficult to wait, especially when I want to DO something NOW. And not just anything, but something IMPORTANT. I had to learn that as my Master, God determines what I do and when. He can give me a task, or He can give me no tasks, whichever He wills. Waiting on God is not futile or wasteful, but He is accomplishing something in me even when it seems as if nothing is happening. Moses herded sheep in the middle of nowhere for forty years before God called him to “herd” His flock of people out of Egypt. I’m sure that during those forty years, God was preparing Moses for the task He wanted Him to do.

  • I can do nothing in myself but EVERYTHING through Christ
  • It all depends on God, not me; it’s a God-thing, not a me-thing

When God moves us into ministry, it’s easy for pride to sneak in, and to start thinking that I am doing it or that responsibility for results rest on me. Actually, it’s all GOD’s doing. It’s like when my son was a little boy: I used to let him help me cook. When he was very young, I’d measure the ingredients and let him pour them in at the proper time. As he grew, I let him measure the ingredients before pouring them in. Although he helped, it was MY project. I chose the recipe, and I told JJ which ingredients we needed, how much, and when to pour them in. In a similar way, God lets us help, but it’s His plan, and He determines what needs to be done and when. On our own, we can do nothing, but when we “help” God, He enables us to do everything He calls us to do.

Also, so often I forget that it’s all about God and HIS glory, not me and mine.

  • God is FOR ME. He will empower me to victoriously “make it” (Rom. 8:31)

Did you ever ponder that God is FOR us? It can seem, at times, as if He is putting obstacles in our way, hindering us from doing what we want to do. Actually, He is helping us make it. He WANTS us to succeed, to reach our potential–oh, not as men count success, but success in an eternal way. He wants us to become like Him, to become all that He designed us to become. He is FOR us, and He will help us make it.

  • When I am weak, He will give me strength.

I struggled with understanding this truth for a long time because it didn’t make sense to me. When I am “weak,” I am very often very ugly, stomping my foot like a 2-year-old when I don’t get my way, grumbling to God. But then I learned that often God takes us to the place where we are weak and can nothing for ourselves in order for us to learn that HE does it. There was a time when I tried so hard to be the kind of godly Christian I wanted to become. I wanted to be loving, grace-filled, sacrificial, generous, full of strong faith, and all that. But despite my greatest efforts, I kept failing and failing and failing. Finally, in frustration, I said to God, “It is IMPOSSIBLE to live the Christian life.” At that point, He said, “Exactly.” Then I realized that if I could live the Christian life, I wouldn’t need God. It’s not so much ME living the Christian life, but Christ living it THROUGH me. Watchman Nee has a wonderful book that explains this concept quite well. I think it’s called Changed Into His Likeness, but I’ve read several of his books and can’t really remember which one it was. Here, however, is a favorite quote by Nee that addresses this subject:

When we are defeated and God does not speak, He is leading us to the end of ourselves and to a complete confidence in Him. There is no substitute for that. We try to help God out, and inflate our faith, and make long prayers, but nothing happens. There is prayer which shows no self-confidence, which cries out in the midst of doubt and fear: “I don’t know whether it is any use or not to do so, but I believe!” God can use faith that is exercised in the midst of extreme doubt. Faith as small as a grain of mustard seed.

  • Repentance is an essential part of forgiveness

God will forgive me when I sin, but repentance comes first. If I cannot humble acknowledge my sins, I cannot receive forgiveness.

  • God LOVES ME with a love beyond imagining
  • Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ–not even my sins and failures
  • God can redeem my failures and use them for good

Although I thought I knew that God loves me, I didn’t really comprehend it until God taught me that He loves me in a miraculous way. (I will tell this story another time.) Learning that God loves me was a tremendous truth that changed my life. Truly understanding the depth of God’s love for me no matter what did not cause me to take advantage of His love, but rather it gave me great security. I no longer feared that He’d abandon me, and I was able to live and trust Him more boldly.

My complete list is:

  • God is God
  • He is in control
  • He is not accountable to me
  • He doesn’t work for me
  • I do not have veto power
  • I cannot determine what is “good” or “bad” in my life
  • It’s not up to me to choose what I will accept in my life or what I will reject
  • Everything in my life is a gift from God and is to be received with thanksgiving
  • God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect
  • I am a vessel of God’s to be used (or not) as He chooses
  • I can do nothing in myself but EVERYTHING through Christ
  • It all depends on God, not me; it’s a God-thing, not a me-thing
  • God is FOR ME.
  • He will empower me to victoriously “make it” (Rom. 8:31)
  • When I am weak, He will give me strength.
  • Repentance is an essential part of forgiveness
  • God LOVES ME with a love beyond imagining
  • Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ–not even my sins and failures
  • God can redeem my failures and use them for good

I continue to add to my Duh Truth list as I learn new lessons about God and where I stand in relation to Him. And every now and then I re-read my list to remind me of its truth.

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