Several days ago, a female acquaintance of mine asked me for advice. Her marriage, a train wreck, teeters on the ragged edge of despair, ready to crash in divorce. My heart aches for her, because she says she doesn’t know what to do, and she feels abandoned by God. “Why won’t He work a miracle for me?” she asked. “I pray, I go to church, I read the Bible, I know what’s right, and He will help others and not me. I try so hard to be a good person and God doesn’t even care.”
Standing outside the forest fire of her life, able to see some things she cannot, I desperately wanted to help her. God told me to share His Truths with her, but that she wouldn’t yet hear. I obeyed, and I understood what He meant.
Immersed in the secular culture, her perception of what is true and right which directs her actions, words, believe structure, and value system, is based on lies, instead of Biblical Truth.
I’ve listened to her many before about her troubles and while she says she believes what I believe, reality is that my faith is nothing but a different philosophy to her. She doesn’t subscribe to obedience to the Word of God, nor does she accept the reality I live within of an actual relationship with Jesus as possible, but I think she thinks rather, that I am slightly (or more J) crazy. I have shared with her that He is alive, and that moment to moment during the day, in the midst of interactions, He will guide us if we will but study His Word, and make him Lord of our lives, doing what He says to do.
What’s interesting is that literally 100% of the “advice” I’ve shared with her in the past has been simple Biblical Truth. And she keeps coming back to me with questions, even though at the core of who she is, she disagrees with me, arguing with me as I ask her questions and share what the Word says. “That doesn’t work for me,” she says, then lists several reasons why.
Her Truth is relative because she doesn’t have the Bible as the foundation for all she believes. She simply doesn’t believe that “it works.”
It breaks my heart, because God patiently waits for her obedience, for her heart to be fully submitted to Him, and she keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, leaving a trail of broken relationships behind her, absent of the peace, comfort, and joy He wishes to lavish upon her while He helps her put her life together…but she won’t obey. The Word isn’t relevant to her – she tries in her own strength to do what is “right” but her faith is based on deeds, not on a faith grounded in recognition of the complete depravity of her spirit without Jesus Christ, fulfilled by a real relationship with Him.
James 1:27 was brought to mind this morning as I was praying for her and the precious little family being destroyed as a result of her and her husband’s constant fighting and damaging words to each other: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
The emphasis is mine…dare you to chew on that verse for just a moment. What constitutes the majority of input for your heart, mind, and soul today?
Are you feeding yourself Scripture and prayers and receiving His blessings with gratitude all day long? Do you look for His communication to you in the midst of everyday things?
Or are you listening to the world via secular broadcast music, television, magazines, websites, and talk shows? Regardless of what “philosophy” or “religion” you subscribe to, everyone knows and psychological research fully supports the notion that we become what we think about. The colloquialism, “Garbage in, garbage out,” is all too true.
I’m not suggesting you live under a rock, but are we even aware of how much “junk” we put into our brains? How much are we allowing into our kids’?
Proverbs 20:11 also reads, “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Dare you to click on the link and see what else He might have for you this morning!)
The saddest thing about all of this, is that she is angry, directing her negative feelings at those she lives with, blaming her husband for his behaviors that don’t measure up, instead of seeing him as a fellow journey-taker, at his own spot on the path, trusting God with the work that He is doing. She wants him to be different, to make her happy, instead of accepting that he is who he is at the moment, and while he is also an angry man, frustrated by her condescending, demanding nature and insensitive comments, he is also tremendously precious to God. The sin of pride is prevalent in their lives, especially hers, because as she spends all her energies blaming him, and excusing herself, God isn’t changing her heart because she has allowed it to become so hard.
I understand why – it’s human nature, sinful as it is…and in her secular world view, she’s not being treated correctly by others. What she refuses to embrace is God’s simple effort for her to focus on her own behaviors instead of the behaviors of others. And her faith isn’t grounded in the Truth of the Bible, so I really can’t help her. I love her to pieces, but I can’t help her. All I can do is pray for the Holy Spirit to do His work, and support her as she struggles. And in God’s timing, not mine, He is.
And I understand her all too well. I know He allowed me to make myself so miserable and angry I had nowhere else to turn but to Him. And broken, complete with tears and a sense of desperation, I recognized for the first time that I couldn’t make the changes in my life happen on my own. I had to face the fact that what I was doing wasn’t working. I had to “become like a little child,” trusting Someone other than myself for what to do (See Luke 18:16-18).
I had to admit to myself and to Him that I didn’t know what to do, and needed His help in changing ME, ask forgiveness for the wrong I had done and was (and are) doing on a daily basis, and stop blaming (which is judgment) my husband for my pain. THEN, (and only then) God finally had a pliable heart He could work with. I was ready to obey. No matter what.
It took a few years of obedience, but it changed everything. It’s His way. Dare you to try it. J
I feel compelled to share one other Truth this morning about anger, from James 1: 19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. … 22 Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. … 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does. (emphasis mine)
Dare you this morning to confess to God that you don’t get it, if that’s the case. I don’t know about you, but the more I come to know Him, the more I realize I don’t understand. The more I want to be with Him, the more I seek His guidance.
And the less stress and angst I have, and the more peace, joy, and comfort I experience.
I want this for you, too. J Thank you for being with me on the journey!
Love to you,