As stumbling and struggling believers in God’s grace, we gather in a simple circle and wonder out loud. There are many things that perplex us. We share notes and try to make sense of our Father’s sovereignty and grace. Sometimes, it seems He is out to get us. I remember reading a saint, she said something like, “[God] no wonder you have so many enemies, when you treat your friends so shoddily.” (You can tell that I’m working on my attitude here.)
But it isn’t that he is out to “get” us. It is more like he is out to “make” us. A distraught woman who just lost her children in a house fire sobbed bitterly. It was obvious that she was completely broken and shattered. She turned to a close friend, “What is God doing to me?” Her dear friend, an older saint, quietly spoke with a profound wisdom. “Honey, He has just now started to make you.”
Beware of giving counsel. As I age, I’m starting to see how stupid that really is. The human heart has pain that only God, the Father can discern. I really think it is more important to love, than to be right. It has taken me decades to come to this place, and I’m still not sure I’ve settled into this. (But isn’t something God might come up with?)
We can guide, but we can’t direct. We can give out a road map, but honestly it seems that is the best we can do. I’m of the opinion that Job’s friends have a real need within themselves– to be “counselors.” They seem to fulfill a selfish interest when the give their friend directions. They want so much it seems, to be regarded as perceptive and astute. They seem to be like Boy Scouts trying to get their “merit badges.” Often people in ministry are this way. It’s like it is an occupational hazard, that pastors, elders and counselors must be aware of.
We live in a twisted world, and we are all trying to make our way through it. We often are clumsy and bumbling. But there is an acquired humility and a gentleness that drips slowly on our own hearts. This how wisdom is secured. This is a wonderful work of God’s grace that ends up changing us. Surely He is making us, and the promise is that when it is all said and done–we will be like Jesus.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6, NLT