I’ve been thinking this morning.

I got together with friends last night and the discussion centered around intervening in people’s lives.  We are called to pray for people but often we are called to do more than that.  What God wants is that we would “pray and say”.  The Bible is clear that if we see someone erring we should say something to redirect them.  This is God’s command for Christians.  Our conversation mostly dealt with problems with unbelievers.  How do you talk to an unbelieving spouse who has ridiculed you for years because not only have you turned to Christ but you’re actively reading your Bible, being involved in church and trying to walk with Him?  What do you do if your teenage daughter (who is also a believer) feels that you should just leave him and move on to happiness?  How do you deal with family members who have hurt you but won’t acknowledge that they’ve done anything wrong though you’ve tried to communicate with them your pain?  What do you do when they expect you to carry on as usual hosting birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas when you feel you simply can’t until the hurt is worked on?  What course of action do you take when a sibling is way out of control and is threatening to not only ruin his life but also that of his wife and children?  How do you intervene?

It wasn’t easy scenarios that were discussed.

Today I thought how circumstances are a bit like rocks.  If we carry them, they weigh us down and slow our progress.  What we need to do is lay them down and let them become stepping stones first to the presence of God and then to more Christlike behaviour.  We can’t make people change.  We can share with the unbelieving spouse but he is free to reject our new found faith as mumbo jumbo.  We can tell family members they have hurt us and that we would like an apology but they aren’t obligated to see it our way or to make amends the way we think they ought to.  We can gently point out the problem to a wayward sibling but that doesn’t mean that he’ll work on it.  What we can do is let the situation work on us.  Everyone knows that God loves us unconditionally and that He wants us to love the same way He does.  It’s not hard to love when people act lovingly, when we’re supported and cared for, when we’re blessed by others.  It takes God working in us and through us though to love those who ridicule us, those who hurt us and those who are making poor choices.  It’s not natural.  We must draw from God what we don’t have in ourselves and it’s likely at those moments that people see most tangibly the difference Christ makes in our lives.  When we have peace when we should have anxiety, when we show love when we should show disgust, when we suffer long instead of bailing out – it’s then that Christ is seen in us.  This is His character not ours.

I am thinking this is why the Bible says to count it all joy when we encounter various trials.  It’s those very difficulties that are God’s gifts wrapped in rough packaging given so that we can become more like Him.  In the end, that’s what matters.  We act like it’s having a nice life that matters but really most people that have charmed lives don’t develop perseverance, hope, patience, etc.  It’s those that have messy scenarios and difficult people to contend with that develop these characteristics if they turn to Christ for His life.

Are there rocks in my life?  Yeah, a few.  Are they weighing me down?  No.  They are under my feet being received as gifts from a loving Heavenly Father to move me closer to Him and make me more like his Son.  Thank you, Jesus, for the rocks.