Observing the Obvious
"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles."1
I have read how in a park on the beautiful island of Bermuda there is a rock hanging on a rope with a large sign beside it which says, "Weather Station: Check the Rock. If it's wet, it's raining. If it's moving, it's windy. If you can't see it, it's foggy. If the rock is gone, it's a hurricane."
Don't you just love it? At least it's reliable!
I sometime joke, too, that the best way to get the latest weather report is to look out the window! Some things in life are obvious. And yet it is amazing how the obvious can stare us in the face and we not see it. And sometimes, with God, instead of "looking out the window" where the answer is staring us in the face, we want a special sign from him! All the evidence was staring the Jews in the face and still they refused to accept Jesus as their promised Messiah—because he didn't arrive the way they wanted or expected!
Sometimes we, too, want a special sign from God for various reasons when the answer is staring us in the face. Sometimes we want God to be co-dependent and tell us everything we should or shouldn't do—or even do for us what we need to do for ourselves. It should be obvious to the alcoholic who wants his wife and family back that he first needs to come to grips with his problem and overcome it, before he can expect his wife to return to him. Instead, he wants God to deliver him from the obvious consequences of his irresponsible behavior and give him his wife and family back now. It doesn't work that way. Never has. Never will.
I have to admit that, when in college on more than one occasion, I prayed that God would help me pass an exam when I knew very well that I wasn't adequately prepared because I hadn't studied sufficiently throughout the school term. It had nothing to do with God's mercy that I passed this course. I had studied enough to get by. Had I not done this, I would have failed ... with God's blessing, no less!
But God isn't codependent. He will not do anything for us that we need and can do for ourselves. Otherwise He would be keeping us over-dependent and immature. He will give us wisdom if we ask for it and guidance if we trust our life to Him, but He does not and will not make our decisions for us, any more than a healthy parent will tell their adult children what they should or shouldn't do. A healthy and wise parent will be a good sounding board for their adult children and help them to see their options so they can make their own decisions and choices. God will also do this for us if we ask Him.
And when people ask questions such as, is it God's will that I should or shouldn't marry this person? Or get this job? Or join this group? etc., etc., there may be some exceptions—and some won't like this—but whether we should or shouldn't get married is our choice. Also, God doesn't send the right person to us (as so many pray for and expect). We need to be the right person if we are to be attracted to the right partner and they to us. Also, if I want to have a happy marriage, I need to be a happy person, for only happy partners make happy marriages. The fact is nobody else can make me happy—or unhappy for that matter, unless I allow them to. And where we work or for whom we work is also our choice. While God does call some people for specific ministries, he doesn't have our lives in narrow, rigid, pigeon-holes. He gives us freedom to make our own choices and to live our lives as we will—and the responsibility for the choices we make. If we make bad choices, we will get bad results.
God has given us both a head and a heart and expects us to use them both. God's will for us covers a broad spectrum and a large framework. The important thing is that we live in harmony with His will; that is in accordance with the principles for effective living as found in His Word, the Bible. When we do this, while no life is perfect, we will find that most of life falls into place in harmonious ways. And the only way we can discover what these principles are is to read them in the Bible.
People who want God to tell them every detail of their lives are like little children wanting mommy or daddy to tell them every move. God wants us to grow up and be responsible, to become whole, and learn to make healthy choices and decisions. As I so often say, it's only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, behavior, actions, relationships, choices and decisions be wholesome.
So where do we begin to know how to make right choices? By reading, studying and knowing God's Word, the Bible. This is where we find his principles for effective and wholesome daily living.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a love for Your Word and with the help of Your Spirit, help me to understand it and learn Your laws and principles for healthy, wholesome living. And please give me a longing to be made whole and a willingness to accept responsibility to do what I need to do. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 1:22 (NIV).