Gimmicks. They’re all over the place. From pyramid schemes to get you rich quick to 7 steps to “washboard abs” (how I wish that one worked!). Every day, my inbox is filled with gimmicks of every kind you can imagine. Since I write a blog, there are the inevitable emails advertising “free” online seminars or EBooks to monetize your blog. There must be a market out there for all of these quick fixes to life’s never-ending struggle to stay above the water, otherwise these popups, ads, and emails wouldn’t be plaguing us every time we open our devices.
The attraction is, obviously, an immediate solution to what may be a long-standing issue that is usually financial. Who doesn’t want to be successful? What is missing from these advertisements is the fact that for most people paying for the service, subscription, or product won’t bring those fantastic results that are advertised in the ad. If you read the fine print or disclaimers at the bottom of the ad, you’ll see there’s no guarantee of success.
I like to read reviews and the standing of a company with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) before even considering spending any of my very hard earned money into anything. The dollars I’m being asked to spend represent lots of work and deserve to be spent only on what is proven to work, not on a gimmick meant to enrich only those who are behind it.
How is it that we throw our lives into things that aren’t proven, things with only an online assurance of their future success? How many times have we fallen for the newest thing ranging from vitamin supplements to “how to” seminars? Yet, we continue to put our hope in the newest, flashiest, and most expensive gimmicks that come our way. “This will be different,” we reason. “Last time I didn’t know what I know now.” Yet, most of the time, the result is the same: money, time, and relationships lost or damaged.
We fail to read the fine print or disclaimer.
Living life as a believer, I sit back in wonder when I consider how much faith we put into these kinds of schemes but we fail to trust God Whose Word is proven.
Psalm 18:13 NJV “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
There are no “quid-pro-quos” in God’s fine print. It’s very straightforward: God’s Word is proven, it is perfect, and for those who dare to trust Him fully – it guarantees success. But success as God defines it doesn’t always line up with what we preconceive. God’s path to success leads us through paths that don’t look perfect to us – but bring us ever closer towards His perfect way.
Psalm 23:4 NKJ “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
In the times of deathly shadows, I would rather walk with God by my side. He has promised me that He will be with me and ultimately I will be successful.
Psalm 23:5,6 NKJ You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
We are “played” by this world and it’s thinking; we live in a culture where success is viewed as having the best of everything – the best money can buy is what we are after. However, when the rubber meets the road and we find ourselves in death’s valley, when a loved one is in hospice or divorce is on the horizon, no amount of money or financial security can walk us through.
Death’s valley is a cruel place that doesn’t have any preferences to whose door it will knock on. But for those who choose to trust God’s Word, even in the darkest places we walk through in life, we will eat – even in front of those who are our enemies. We will have enough to take care of loved ones and ourselves. We will see God’s goodness and mercy each and every day of our lives, if we can only trust Him.
If we can trust online ads that are not proven, how much more can we trust God and His Word that is proven?
I remember during one of my life’s darkest hours, when my younger brother was in hospice, I wasn’t sure how I would cope. Yet, for my father’s sake, I knew that there was no other choice. He was frozen in grief and was unable to attend to any of the issues that needed to be attended to at the time. I had to find a way to manage the feelings that assailed my heart. Never in my lifetime had I thought it possible to one day be sitting by my dying brother’s bedside, waiting for him to enter into God’s presence. How did this happen? Some of those questions are still waiting to be answered in eternity but I did know one thing: God was with me in death’s valley. As the time drew nearer for Matthew to enter into glory, God’s presence became so thick in his hospital room that the tears somehow didn’t feel so very painful. It was as if God’s own hands were open to Matthew and He let it be known to those of us around his bedside that all was well. When my brother finally did graduate to a truly better place, in my spirit it was as if I could hear him walking away with his Heavenly Father. We were left with the feelings of loss, but God was walking with us as well, and we managed.
I think back to that time three years ago and wonder how God gave me the grace to make it through – but I did. The tears still come but at the same time, I feel great joy for Mathew who now knows a full joy that those of us who are here on earth have yet to experience. I suppose the greatest comfort of all comes in knowing that when Matthew left us, it wasn’t “goodbye,” but rather, it was “I’ll see you there.”
God’s Word, there’s no hidden fine print. He’s true, He’s present, He’s walking with us and taking care of our needs. There are no hidden gimmicks or pop up ads – He walked me through my brother’s death and continues to walk with me daily, making sure His goodness and mercy follow me everywhere I go.
And that is all the success I need.