In good times, it’s easy to put on a mask, and present ourselves as someone we think people prefer to see. We want to look like we’re all together, happy and content. Part of it is not wanting to burden others–to be a “wet blanket” to use a cliche. The biggest reason, however, is pride. We want to show the world we’re better than we are; no one likes to admit their shortfalls, mistakes, and weaknesses.
That “perfect” mask we’ve created we also keep on for ourselves. I’ve said countless times that we humans are experts at deceiving ourselves.
When troubled times hit, however, that mask falls away, and we can no longer hide from the real face in the mirror.
I saw a meme a few days ago that said, “I guess God got so mad about all of our fighting down here that he sent us all to our rooms.”
Funny, but true in a way as well. When parents send children to their room for misbehaving, it’s in the hope they’ll take that time to contemplate what they did wrong, and how they can do better next time.
I, for one, got a glimpse of who I am with regard to facing troubles not of my making, and one with which I have no immediate solution. Like so many others, I am at the mercy of my own government telling me what I can and cannot do, where I can and cannot go, and with whom I am allowed and not allowed to spend my time.
The rebel in me had a two-week long temper tantrum (as everyone who’s been reading these posts as well as my Twitter and/or Facebook feeds can attest).
With my mask now shattered at my feet, I must face the awful truth in that I’ve yet to take my own advice.
When stripped of all pretense and deception, who I am is a spoiled, angry hypocrite.
Nor am I unique. I keep thinking of the Israelites when God rescued them out of Egypt in Exodus. Talk about complainers! It seemed that no matter how well God took care of their needs, it was never enough. One of my favorite passages was when the Israelites reached the Red Sea, and they saw the Egyptians marching after them. They screamed at Moses that they were better off as slaves in Egypt, because at least there they wouldn’t be massacred.
I don’t think they feared the Egyptians so much as the unknown. At least as slaves, they knew what their future held. Heading toward an unknown wilderness–even freely–can be a terrifying idea.
We are in a similar (if figurative) unknown wilderness now. We can’t help but ask, “When will this end? Will I have a job when it’s all said and done, and even if I do, how do I feed my family and pay all my bills in the meantime?”
Many have said we need not fear, and that we should trust God, and pray unceasingly. Moses said as much in Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV): “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
I love God’s response (vs 15): ”Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” He then went on to part the Red Sea and deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians.
We should absolutely continue to pray and trust God without qualification, yet at the same time we need to listen. He might also be asking us to “go forward.”
Regardless of what our government is doing (whether rightly or wrongly is a different discussion), we are not completely helpless or without means or resources. We may have to drop our masks in front of others and ask for help, while at the same time look for ways we can help those with even fewer resources.