Have you ever seen this meme?
If you have, do you understand it? Do you really? Because it doesn’t just apply to Spiritual matters. It is a lesson for all of life.
God’s Laws (i.e. TORAH) are intended to provide us with principles by which to live. They are supposed to be used to guide our personal choices and decisions in all aspects of our lives. This not only includes the way we treat ourselves, our family and friends and even those with whom we do business, but also how we vote and how we expect our nation to act in relation to other nations.
If we follow God’s commands, many of the problems that cause us so much trouble in our daily, business and national lives could be avoided. However, they also provide us with an anchor when things happen over which we have no control. Famine, pestilence, plague, war: God’s Law provides us with a pre-determined path to follow that will lead us out of such trials and tribulations. Instead of panicking, or reacting out of fear, we need but turn to these commands and follow them to the best of our understanding. However, that understanding has to be focused on how God meant His commands to be followed, not how we want to follow them.
Well, this pattern extends to every aspect of life. When we have a set of pre-determined guidelines we use to govern our personal lives, they are called, ‘principles.’ The reason that these principles must be pre-determined is so that we ca avoid trouble. If we have a consistent set of principles that do not disagree or create internal conflicts, then, when we are confronted with a situation, we can make correct decisions much easier and much faster. All we have to do is follow those pre-determined principles. These principles will also protect us if and when a crisis does arrive. Instead of trying to think when we might be scared, all we have to do is follow our principles.
This concept extends out from our personal lives to our business and national lives. Businesses should have some sort of written set of principles, known as by-laws. By-laws are a set of principles that guide the way every employee deals with other employees, customers and business partners. When it comes to nations, these set of principles are known as Constitutions. Once again, by-laws are meant to help a business stay out of trouble or, if trouble comes, to help that business navigate through that trouble. Likewise, constitutions are intended to help a nation avoid troubles or, if troubles come, they help the nation get through the trouble.
But none of these things work if we do not hold to them. This is where the notion of the guard rail comes into the picture. God’s Law, personal principles, by-laws and constitutions cannot protect us if we refuse to adhere to them. This is especially true in times of crisis. The worst times to be making important decisions about the proper way to act is when we are desperate or afraid. Panic tends to defeat reasons. This is why we can never trust ourselves when we are under stress. What might seem reasonable to us at the time will, upon reflection, reveal itself to have been totally irrational. The wise learn from this, and work to refine their principles in times of peace, so that they can better trust them in times of trial. But the foolish disregard the need for principles in times of peace, leaving them with nothing to guard them against disaster when trials come.
Unfortunately, we can never know whether or not we truly believe in our principles until trials come to us. It’s when we are under the most stress that our actions will reveal our true convictions. If we are truly committed to our beliefs, then we will cling to our pre-determined guard rails to protect us. However, if we don’t really believe, then we will panic and react out of fear.
However, there is another type of trial that we tend to miss. Times of peace and prosperity are also trials, because they tend to give us a false sense of security and control. It is in times of ease when we tend to jump over those guardrails, believing that they no longer apply because things have gone so well for so long. Or because we think that it was us, and not the Creator, who makes the laws that protect us. Here again, the wise know that peace is as much, if not a greater peril than crisis, so they cling to their guard rails in peace, as well. However, in times of peace and comfort, the foolish will often ignore or even try to destroy those guardrails.
No matter what form it takes — peace and comfort, or crisis and peril — trials will test us all. The wise will understand, and the foolish never will never see that:
Tribulation is how God sorts the heart of those who claim to believe.
Crisis is how the heart of a nation is sorted.
Financial stress is how the heart of a business is sorted.
Personal struggles is how the heart of the individual is sorted.
Fortunately, if your personal, business and political principles align with God’s commands, most things will eventually turn out for the best. However, whenever our personal, business or political principles oppose God’s commands… Well, just have a look at the history of the House of Israel to see how that works out (there is a lesson in the cycle that the House of Israel keeps repeating).