The Mess

sarah-presenting-hagar-to-abraham

My first marriage was a disaster. There were a few people that warned me but the reality is I wasn’t really listening. I was affected by fear and a lack of faith. There was fear that I wouldn’t find anybody else. I just expected God to fix all the problems. Isn’t that having faith? Regrettably, it isn’t.

I would never have started divorce proceedings but when my first wife left me to marry someone else, sadly I was relieved. I resigned my job as a pastor and then struggled to find other work. It was a huge mess.

This is not surprising. When we make decisions out of fear, or a lack of faith, it will almost certainly lead to a big mess. We see this in the lives of Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis 16:1-4 we read about Sarah’s (and Abraham’s) lack of faith resulting in Sarah giving Abraham her maid so that she could have a son through the maid.

The plan worked to some extent. Abraham had a child, Ishmael. However this wasn’t the way God was going to bring Sarah and Abraham a child. Ishmael became the cause of a huge mess, which still has repercussions today.

This makes me wonder whether I’m still making decisions out of a lack of faith today. When am I making decisions out of fear? When am I making decisions where I just expect God to sort out the mess I make? Am I really waiting for God’s time and God’s way to do things?

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8 thoughts on “The Mess

  1. In business its good to choose career paths that challenge and push us, because that is the path of constant personal growth, of gaining new experiences and skills, of always being just out of our depth but managing to rise to the challenge and find new strength and reserves we didn’t know we had. Or we can pick a job we’re good at and stick at it until retirement…

    I think God is very good at picking life situations for us that give us opportunity to grow. Marriage is one of His favourites. Some of these life situations will appear to end in failure, but God knows the end from the beginning and I think He uses those like he did with the apostle Peter’s sifting, to shine the light brightly on the areas of our hearts that aren’t yet submitted to him, for our benefit. We see our own failure, our own brokenness that was there long before we fell, but now we’re finally prepared to give God access to that part of our lives we now recognise had been off-limits to Him up until then. That humility and brokenness is essential for growth (I know, I’ve been there many times).

    But there’s also the danger of not being able to take our eyes off the failure. Jesus’ words to Peter: “Do you love me Peter? Then feed my sheep.” No going back to fishing. On to the next challenge but now less confident in our selves and more reliant on our Father.

    • Yes we always need to be moving forward. I think those that have accepted their own failures are the ones best able to move forward.

  2. We are all in this condition from time to time. The grace of God is patient and constant and molding us into the people He wants us to be. Thanks for opening up too. Now I feel like I know you a bit better!!!

  3. Finding God’s will, knowing God’s will, can seem impossible. But, is it? Of course, God’s will is never for us to be fearful (in an anxious or fretful way). So, my rule of thumb is, if what I am feeling is “fear”, it is almost certainly not from God. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  4. Nate, I agree with both Levi and Momma – God is constantly molding us, and He is has not given us a Spirit of fear. He is also not a God of confusion. It’s different for each of us, but for me, I pray and ask for guidance and confirmation. When my decision is surrounded by peace, I know I’m stepping into His plan, and not forging one of my own making. Just remember, God won’t be finished with us until we meet with Him face to face – we have lots of learning to do here on earth. 🙂

  5. This powerful article strikes to the heart of the Eden sin – we want to be god. It reminds me of some big decisions made in my own past that did not coincide with God’s plan, but it seemed the only way to go, which is crazy rationally, but obvious emotionally. Like when I was called to move 2000 kilometers west, which my wife confirmed was God calling. Emotionally we could not do it, so I actually phoned back to withdraw my acceptance and stayed closer to home. God was gracious about it, but it a little like, “OK, once. Next time NOT.” I also affirm the comments that we are at peace in God’s will.
    Peace

Thanks for reading. What do you think? Do these questions relate to you? How?

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