As I have been navigating this season of my life, I have been doing a lot of reading. A huge blessing for me as it is getting back to the things that make me happy. I love to read. I love my daily devotional, a good self help book, a classic fiction novel, I even love school text books. On my list of books that have helped me so much is a book called “Defiant Joy” by Stasi Eldridge. Much like the majority of people, I have this fantastic way of asking God for to help and then taking all of the control back because I am impatient. This morning a letter to the author that was included in the book struck me pretty hard, it went as follows.
Wow. How many times have we learned to pray “Thy Will Be Done“… But this is how I would like to see it play out. How many people do we know, maybe even ourselves who have “made deals” with God and then spent their entire lives struggling to keep them? How many people have we caused harm intentionally or unintentionally in the name of God’s will because it would hurt us and our mission to just say; “This is what I wanted and I am calling it God’s will because if it wasn’t, He would have stopped me.”
Neither of those scenarios make us bad people. They simply make us human people. Flawed, self serving, struggling, trying to survive, people; Humans. People who cause intentional hurt to other people in the name of God’s will, genuinely believe that if God didn’t want it, He would stop it. They were in a bad situation and promised, “God if you do this… ” Insert whatever you want there “I will never drink again”, “I will make sure he never has to suffer”, “I will work harder”, “I will pray more”. The thing is God is not in the business of making deals. He sent his Son to suffer so that we would be forgiven and no where in the bible does it say He promises us joy and happiness all of the time this side of heaven. If you truly believe in God and His will, then you know that His will will never include your having to work for His grace. It will never include you having to sin to accomplish it. It will never include intentionally harming someone else in any way, and God considers all sin equal. Murder and lies all go on the same page. We Intentionally do whatever it takes to keep the deal that God never made with us. The act that was granted was God’s will before we tried to make a deal. It was designed to bring us closer to Him, to rely on Him, to pray, to believe.
The unintentional side affects are actually worse in the long run. Aside from the people that we hurt without caring how they were affected, let’s talk about the ways we hurt the person or people we were trying to protect while we were not trying to be like God, but trying to be God. The quote at the top of the page is one of my lifetime favorites. I always come back to it. In the book “Boundaries” they say that God has given everyone a napsack and this is what they were meant to carry and we are also sometimes given boulders and we are meant to help others with those boulders. But who decides which is which. How many people have we gotten in the way of God for? When we get rid of all of the obstacles and construct our will in God’s name, why do they need God? They didn’t need to stop and pray, or listen quietly and wait for answers. They didn’t stop and seek guidance because it was handled. We weren’t supposed to handle it, and now we are their version of God. The person they look to to solve life. And while God will always be there, we won’t. Eventually we will be gone and we hope and pray that these people know they can rely on Him in our absence and they find themselves and their relationship with Him. How many years with God and how many blessings did they miss out on when we were not absent?
Have you ever known how to comfort someone in a time of trouble and how to direct them to God because of struggling and trouble you went through? What an amazing feeling! One we do not give them the opportunity to have when we keep them from their struggles. It’s hard. We don’t want the people we love to struggle. We don’t want to struggle. But we would rather struggle than watch them struggle. If God broke His own heart watching His only Son struggle in a horrible world so that he could save us all. Who are we to stand in between God and his will in the name of only the people we care about not struggling?
I find myself convicted of this often. I imagine I will have more to say about this later. But for now, this has been weighing heavy on my heart today and I just needed to get in out. So until next time… I guess I will ponder the difference in helping and enabling and which one is God’s will. Today, one of the Ministers at church quoted this passage and I will leave it here for you to ponder in all of it’s glory as it was exactly what I needed to hear today.
God does give us more than we can handle. He does this because we were not meant to handle it alone, but with His help.