There are several hard lessons to be learned in all of this. One is that a man who is not a whole man in Christ will never truly find the type of success that will satisfy his heart. The second is that we are not who we are supposed to be without Christ in our lives. The third is that God’s provision for our loves is complete in a way that we cannot understand when we are staring at the circumstances that our choices have brought us to. These are in fact very complex lessons and not merely one sided or single moment lessons. Rather they are lessons that require much self-examination at many points. They are lessons that we must continually adjust to and move along with.
I can remember in my undergraduate work in the theology classes that I had how your mind had to basically become jelly in order to try and take in any more thoughts of God and His amazing nature. It took a lot of reading, a lot of research, and a lot of searching inside to find out just what I believed about God and how He worked in the lives of His children. It took a lot of tearing down and rebuilding in my life to get to where I could see a lot of things about God. Funny how I remember these things now, even after my faith had taken such a back seat to my own will and my selfishness. The great thing is that God does not change. He remains the same. In reality we are the ones that change. While we would like to think that we are constant, we are very wavering in our courses.
Think of it this way. There was once a man who wanted nothing more than to provide for his family. He spent all the money he had in order to go to the best school he could get into. He studied hard while his family stayed home. He worked long hours at his internship and even longer hours doing extra things that would put him ahead. All along the goal was to make himself the best candidate for the best job he could get. When he got that job, he worked long hours to make extra money and still his family was left behind to make things work on their own. He missed birthdays, he missed graduations, and he missed anniversaries. He kept telling himself how everything he was doing was so that his family would have everything they wanted. Finally on the day of his retirement, all of his coworkers patted him on the back and told him how great he had been for the company. He looked out into the crowd for his family and they were nowhere to be found. He went home to find that they were not there either. On the table was a note from his wife. It read, “Congratulations on your retirement, we are proud of what you have done, but now that you have no more work to do, we have left. We don’t know who you are, and we just couldn’t bear the thought of living with a stranger when all we have ever known is a bank account, and a busy work schedule.” The man was broken; he could not understand how he could be so abandoned by those whom he had worked so hard for all of his life. He lived alone the rest of his life, cold bitter and alone.
It’s a sad story, a bit melodramatic, but it makes a point about how when we become focused on the things that we would have, we waver from the real path that we are supposed to be following. I had a vision once of what my life was supposed to look like. I knew what I wanted for my family, and quite frankly this was not in my plan. Somewhere in my striving to have the things I wanted, I wandered off the path that god had for me. I was allowing my will to control what I was doing, and in reply my path veered sharply away from what was good for me, and what was good for them. Therefore like the man in the story, I lost who I was. I lost my identity, and I lost so much more.
Unlike the man in the story, I have come to realize that what I did was wrong. I understand why things have ended up the way they have. I know why I failed on my path. I failed on my path because my path was never built on a solid foundation. It was never going to succeed, or lead anywhere because my will and my desire simply cannot go that far. God’s will and desire however has an end. There is a finish line that he wants us to cross. It is not His will that we suffer, nor is it His will that we walk alone in this world.
There is nothing you can do that can actually get you so far away from God that He cannot find you. He sees everything; He knows everything, more than that he designed everything. There is nowhere you can run, fall, or hide that he cannot find you. What will you do when God finds you is a question you will have to answer for yourself. It may be a matter of thinking that you have messed too much up in your life and that He cannot possibly fix it, or would even want to fix it. Do not be fooled by your own understanding of what He wants. He has told the world what He desires, He desires His children to be with Him. I did a wonderful job of messing up the plans God had for me. I really did a number on them and it didn’t do anything but hurt me, and the others around me. Yet, even though I have done such a wonderful job of making a mess, God can, is and has already redeemed it.
Redemption is a very wonderful concept. It is the process of making something that was once broken, new and viable. For instance, my relationship with my ex-wife is now a viable friendship, where before it was a broken shell. My desire to serve God is renewed with a much stronger fire than ever before. My desire to follow His will and depend on Him is at a point which it has never been at in my life. Things that were once important are not, and things that once should have been important are paramount. Redemption has a story to tell, and it is being lived out before my very eyes. It is not easy. Max Lucado describes it very well in his book, “On the Anvil”. It is literally like being reformed from a broken tool. I do not know where you are in your life, but I do know that if you are not allowing God to work with you, and in you, you are missing out on something amazing. Don’t be the way I used to be. Be something so much better in and through Christ.