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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Big is Your God?

I Can Fix It!

There is a passage of scripture that God has reminded me of perhaps more than any other.  I was sharing with a friend of mine my most recent reminder, and he wrote back some interesting insights, and so I would like to use the passage and his comments as the base for today’s blog.  First the passage from Matthew 6 (ESV):

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

And now, here are Randy’s comments to me:

We struggle because we assume we have to. I mean, you and I were part of a generation raised by shade-tree mechanics and self-starters. If something’s broken, you fix it. If something needs doing, you do it. If you want a new toy or tool or appliance, you save up for it or do something else to earn it. Nothing’s free and it is our nature to actively make things happen rather than passively living with a sense of entitlement. So this passage naturally goes against the way we were taught to live – the expectation that Someone is taking care of us is a concept we’ve been taught NOT to rely on since childhood. And of course, there are times when we get totally stressed and depressed by the fact that there is more that needs doing than we can handle or the task before us is simply beyond our ability to cope – and these verses are the answer. But still hard to process.

I don’t know about you, but his comments describe my approach to many things very aptly.  

And it applies to the areas of marriage and divorce as well.  When a marriage has problems, for those of us with the mindset Randy describes, the task is to face the problems head on and work to solve them.  Enlist counselors, read books, attend weekend seminars, take hours of time to try to get away and talk….whatever we can do to try to save our marriage and get it back on track is what we do.  However, real life is there are some marriages that cannot be fixed like that….at least, not by just one partner.  

It is a very hard thing to believe that God led you into a marriage, that you have been faithful in that marriage, and that you have worked hard to deal with the problems in the marriage…and yet God would allow the marriage to fall apart and end anyway.  We like to think if we just try a little harder, or that God will come in and somehow make it all okay.  But that doesn’t always happen.  You can blame one partner or another or society or Satan or whatever you want to blame, but the bottom line is that you come out feeling a failure that you weren’t able to fix it.  But God has the ability to take our failed attempts at fixing a marriage and use them to form the basis for the next stage of our lives…which for me has been a second marriage that is very different from the first.  In the times when the marriage home is collapsing all around, it is hard to hang on to Jesus’ challenge to have no anxieties or worries, and truly believe that God is looking out for you even in the midst of that devastation.

And then, after the divorce has come, when money is tight, futures uncertain, hearts are broken and fears assail, we once again are faced with the challenge of this passage.  It is one thing to have no anxiety when the bank account is full and the job is secure and the home is a haven and life is good.  But when everything has fallen apart, and the money has been divided between you, your ex and the attorneys (not in that order) and the cupboard is less full and you fear that your children’s future is at risk, not to mention your own now that you are all on your own for the first time in how many years?...  

When life is like that and you read verses like these, the test comes strong…as if God is saying, “Do you trust me?”  When problems loom large, it can be hard to remember that God is even larger.  Passages like Isaiah 40 can remind you of that fact, though, and the assurance of Jesus that God’s care is always there can become the one thread of sanity to which you hold while everything around you seems skewed through the insanity of the divorce process with all the ensuing emotions.  We can't fix all those things either.  

Sunday at church we sang a song I had not heard before, which included the encouragement that God has never allowed us to walk alone, and he never will.  So I invite you, no matter what your situation in life as you read this, to take time to read once again for yourself the passage above from Matthew, reading it with an awareness that Jesus is speaking in it to you.

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