Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Cult of Personality

    There's been a lot of "uncertainty" at work recently. Uncertainty of the type that causes one to question whether or not they will have a job after a certain date. I'm not going to go into the details much more than that, but that should give you enough of a clue what to pray for, I should hope.

    All of this uncertainty has lead me to question a lot of things about myself, and I'd like to share one of those things with you. I believe the Lord uses these times in our lives, these "wake-up calls", in order to shake up our insides. After all, if things are going smoothly then what reason is there to question your core beliefs as it appears that they are obviously working (and are therefor presumed correct), right?

    In all of this recent turmoil, I've come to realize that I can fall prey to the "Cult of Personality". A cult of personality is when you believe in someone beyond their ability to perform, to the point that you begin to see them as your possible "protector", or worse yet, your "savior". It's a bit like attributing God-like power to a mere mortal.

    Now, we do this all the time with our country leaders. Take FDR, he had an amazing power to make people believe that he was the man that could accomplish the job. He made people believe that it was impossible for him to fail. Another good example is Obama. Something about Obama makes you want to believe that he can do all that he claims he can do (at least, I feel that way when I hear him speak, he's very persuasive). But, beyond that, you are lead down the path of believing that he, and perhaps he alone, can cure all of our country's woes.

    The fact that we do it all the time doesn't make it right. In fact, it's a form of idolatry. Remember that whole "Thou shalt not have any other gods before me" thing? Yep, I'd say this qualifies.

    So, how did this play out in my life? Quite simply, actually. There is a man who had shepherded our project from day one. He was our champion and stepped in to defend us when it was necessary. He is a quite larger than life kind of guy, one of those men that you instantly like because he's so brash but so compassionate. He's pretty real.

    I had only met him once or twice, but I had heard story after story about his exploits on our behalf. I came to believe that he, and he alone, would protect us through any hard times that arose.

    This all occurred over about a 2 year period. Within the past few months, though, I started recognizing what I had been caught up in. The Holy Spirit was talking to me about it, quite honestly. I started asking questions like, "Why do I see this man as my savior?", or "Why do I think that he is the only one that can protect us?"

    Now, in my life, when it comes time to challenge a view that I have, I ask myself questions. I was actively challenging this view, and rightly so. I had started praying that the Lord would protect our project (which is the source of my income that supports our family) and I asked him to help me remove my faith in this man and place it in the Lord.

    Then, about a month ago, the unthinkable happened. Our project was removed from this man's domain. We were quite literally snatched out of his hands. He rallied to our defense, but he was powerless to effect any kind of change and we were placed in someone else's domain, someone who we knew didn't wish us well. It's all very political, but the easiest way that I can describe it to you is that we were basically delivered bound and captive to our enemies, people who had wanted control over us for a long time.

    To say that I felt helpless is an understatement. I was fearful and afraid of what would happen, and things only continued to get worse. They got about as bad as they could get, actually.

    Then, a new man stepped in and started acting as our potential protector. We are now in his domain, and he is a man with serious clout. He took a shine to what we were doing and started down the path of acting as our protector.

    Once again, I found myself being caught up in the cult of personality: "Maybe this man will save us, maybe this man will provide!"

    I quickly removed my thoughts from that path, though, as I realized what it was. I once again asked the Lord to be my protector and provider.

    Things still look bad, and I'm still stressed about a lot. This is not an easy time, to say the least. The potential for disaster looming in the wings is huge. My main concern is how will I provide for Cole's health care if I should lose my job? After that, how will I provide for our family at all?

    No, it's not an easy time, but it is made easier by the fact that I'm not foolishly putting my trust in someone that can, and may, fail. If our project is saved then I will rightly attribute it to the Lord, and not to any man.


    Langston-Family said...

    Your posting makes me think of Paul. A well educated man, with a passion for his job or calling, putting his trust in a Man while riding the waves of uncertainty. He, like yourself, remains to be faithful and committed to God. Be encouraged brother, in times of uncertainty is when we grow closer to God when we take the time to honestly communicate to Him our thoughts and become vulnerable to hear what He has to say.

    Also, remember there are others who are sailing the same ship as you well know. Lets sail together.