Saturday, April 26, 2014

When you Struggle with Apathy


It was a frigid wintery morning, with  a northern Alberta wind buffeting the region with an intense frosty chill. The night before, a fierce bitter arctic blizzard had rolled relentlessly across the prairies. It moaned and howled like something that had crawled out of an unholy abyss. It stalked the farm, rattling storm windows and buffeted the house continuously through the long night. 

The snow covered panorama of the surrounding fields was bleakly windswept with mounds of drifting snow that were not there the day before. It was still snowing hard this morning, and  it was possible that some of the outbuildings housing the farming equipment had been damaged, so I dressed warmly to survey the impact of the storm. 

Stepping into the Storm

As I closed the front door, I heard a truck coming slowly down the debris strewn driveway. It pulled to a stop, and I recognized my neighbor Ken who stopped by to see if I needed any help after the blizzard. Farmers are a family.

He stepped out of the truck, and was followed by his big old white dog named Frost. The faithful companion loved to be out chasing down wandering cattle, lost sheep or any other living thing that he could get a bead on. We set off toward the barn, and as always, Frost ran on ahead, and true to his nature the hunt was on, only this morning, the chase was not like anything I had ever seen him do before.

Chasing after the Wind...

Frost  would leap and bark, spinning in circles, snapping at unsuspecting prey that he appeared to be hunting. I looked at Ken and he just shook his head with a sorrowful grim look upon his face.“He’s not been himself for a couple of months now. The vet thinks he is about at the end of his days…..”

Nothing else needed to be said. Frost had been Ken’s second hand on his cattle farm for a number of years. However, the old hunter's  world at present was intensely focused upon one futile objective…chasing after the wind. It was heartbreaking to see this fearless hunter, skilled cattle herder, and loyal companion, now totally disoriented, and frustrated, as he frantically barked and bit at the cold prairie wind on this wintery morning.

The Futility of a Life without God

It was Late one evening, some weeks later, and I was sitting at my desk, trying to work through several complicated life impacting issues that lay inert on the horizon of my future. I looked out the slightly frosted window, and gazed at the snow covered fields that were luminescent in bright moonlight.

Suddenly a gust of wind swirled the snow covered scene outside my window and the image of an old faithful dog, leaped before my eyes, turning this way and that, and I was struck with an intriguing thought:


Maybe the real issue for me this night was that I was spending all of my time trying to find My strategy to sort out my frustrating real life problems. In reality, like the old dog Frost, I was just chasing the wind. I had spent very little time of late in The Quiet Place. Decision making in the Will of God can only take place when His will becomes the focus of our lives.

   
Drifting from The Quiet Place

Spiritual drifting leads naturally to Chasing after the Wind. We are created to worship God in the Quiet Place where His will, not ours, becomes our strategic mind-set in sorting through life's challenging problems.
  
The drifting creates futile patterns in our life and germinates the seed of Apathy which  becomes the critical issue in Spiritual Drifting.

The Apathetic mindset grows slowly, rooting the following attitudes where we become:

Driven in All of our Activities...

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14. 

Principle: Only God gives Purpose to my life.

Exhausted with everything we do...

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind “ Ecclesiastes 2:11.  

Principle: Only work that I do for God’s Glory has Purpose.

Consumed by the pursuit of wealth and overwhelmed by loss of financial security...

“To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:26

Principle: Only God can give me a Biblical Perspective on Wealth. 

Apathetic about what used to be meaningful...

“Toil Is Meaningless, so I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17.

Principle: Only God can give my Work a sense of Value 

Progressively pessimistic with a sarcastic perspective...

“Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:17.

Principle: Only God’s Wisdom has any Meaning

Envious for what other people have that we have lost...

“And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Ecclesiastes 4:4


Principle: Only God frees my Achievements from Envious Competitiveness


Decision Making in The Will of God

Always remember that God's Word is the only compass that never changes, the only Book that will always tell you the Truth, and the only life Road Map to help you navigate through whatever critical time you are experiencing right this moment. 

Decision making in the Will of God becomes a mindset when our primary goal is to please Him. Storms can dim our view of what is best to do in a given situation because often changing our circumstances becomes more important than changing our attitude in the midst of adversity.

Often we miss the beauty and majesty of the winter storms of life, because we only see the storm, and not the creative display of our God's artistic handiwork (Psalm 19). When trials come our way, they can become strategic trails to a deeper walk with God.

There is strength and courage that we receive when we immerse ourselves in God's Word. He wants each of us to discover the vital importance of spending meaningful time meeting with Him in.... The Quiet Place. 

It is only there that we discover that decision making in the Will of God flows out of our heart desire to please Him, and enjoy unhindered communion. That is where our thinking must be centered, otherwise we are more often just going through the motions in our spiritual walk and finding ourselves...Chasing the Wind.

Please take a moment to listen to this inspiring song that gives insight in how to overcome seasons of Apathy, and the challenge to resist Spiritual Drifting in our lives.

The Motions   By Michael West


3 comments:

  1. It is September 29, 2016 about 2 1/2 years after this was posted. Thank you, JESUS, I found this. I am almost 50 years old (will be in about two weeks) and I continually struggle with apathy off and on. I have a great life: a loving, faithful husband of 25 years of marriage, five lively and healthy children, and part of a church body that loves and serves the LORD.

    The apathy seemed to first spring up after I graduated from college. So many good blessings came my way: employment, a church body, a husband, then children but nothing could eradicate the intrusive vine of apathy. I do not know how to uproot this thing; however, I cry out to JESUS, share my struggles with my family in CHRIST, and I serve (my service seems motivated out of duty not love for our LORD). I do not know what else to do. I am afraid of infecting our children with this apathy and some day it could paralyze me. I look forward to the day I do not struggle anymore because I am in the presence of our LORD and SAVIOUR. This article gives me hope that I am not the only one that struggles with this. There is much to ponder in this post in my time with the LORD. May HE direct my path to HIS passion and may I be a guidance and support to others who have the courage to acknowledge they struggle even though they are blessed.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the feedback on this blog article dealing with spiritual apathy. I sense your struggle has been very hard. Recently I published a book entitled, Grace for the Thorns. It deals with many of the issues that you and others have raised. To read an overview of the book, please follow the link below:

      http://graceforthethorns.blogspot.com/

      God Bless,

      John Krohn PhD

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