"Consider the work of God: who can make straight what He has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider:
God has made the one as well as the other..."
My life of late has been full of adventures.
In my last post, I related how I had to be rescued after accidentally locking myself out of the car. Subsequently, I misplaced a small amount of money which had been entrusted to me to buy gifts for some elderly friends. Embarrassed, I decided to replace the funds, but also felt the need to confess my carelessness to the giver.
Just as I was in the process of admitting my mistake, I rummaged around one more time in the drawer I recalled placing the money in. Voila! There lay the cash, in the same spot I had scoured several times already.
What do lockouts, misplaced money and dying appliances have in common? They're all "crooked" areas of life. Stuff that doesn't go right or perform as expected. Equipment, events and relationships go amiss because we live in a fallen world. It stands to reason that things will break down in such a flawed system; what's less obvious is how to navigate the crooked, broken paths we're often forced to tread.
I propose that prayer, surrender and SOMETIMES action are key to straightening out life's messes. Prayer is paramount before, during and after life throws us curve balls. Somewhere I heard the assertion that believers are always dealing with a trial, about to face a trial, or just coming out of one. That being the case, prayer would seem the sensible course before, during and after trouble strikes.
Prayer may or may not lead to action. To coin another phrase (this one from Al Anon), "Don't just do something; sit there!" There are times to just "be still and know that [He is] God" (Psalm 46:10). While it's true that misguided action can lead to downfall, it's equally true that ill-advised inaction is nothing short of stagnation. Just as stagnant water is unhealthy, so stasis in the midst of solvable problems can be deadly. God won't bless His children when they let fear or lethargy immobilize them in a swamp of avoidance instead of climbing out at His command.
Only the Lord...
As if that weren't enough, He really poured on the blessings in terms of saving money (scan back a few paragraphs, where I describe the battle of wills between me and my wallet). Between the gift card, price matching and a coupon, I managed to knock a big chunk off the retail price. I felt like God was rewarding me for not agonizing over the purchase, but at the same time, seeking the best deal possible. Good stewardship meets letting go!
My other "high finance" situation, the case of the misplaced money for the elderly, similarly required action. I had to do my part of giving over the situation to the Lord, AND be willing to make good, AND be willing to 'fess up to it BEFORE God would make straight that which I had made crooked. By the way, ironically, the giver of the Home Depot card was the same person who provided the money for our older friends. Clearly, this is not someone for whom forking over cash is like losing an appendage. I could learn a thing or two from this dear saint!
In the previous scenarios, I needed to surrender to the situation and also do something about it. However, surrender is equally crucial when there isn't any real action we can take other than to accept what God hands us. Fighting against unfixable problems just wastes energy that's vital to coping with them - as fruitless and often as painful as Saul's kicking against the goads.
May that not be said of this sheep!