FAITH BLOG

WORKING IN YOUR MESS

The Mercies of God for the Messes of Man

The Bible does not give us lies—that is paper thin promises of some supposed utopia. It does not obfuscate the rough edges of human existence in its words.  It deals with real life. Real choices. Real people. Real failure. Real messes.

Everyone falters here. Abraham in his duplicity, Rebekah in her scheming, Laban in his greed, Rachel in her jealousy, and Leah in her desire to be loved—at all costs. This is NOT what God intended—not in the least.  In the beginning He created them male and female. He gave Adam one wife—but what a mess they (and we too) made.  Robert Jamieson, in his commentary on this chapter, put it well when he opined that, “The evil lies in the system, which being a violation of God’s original ordinance, cannot yield happiness.”  In the polygamous mess of Jacob’s disastrous marriage not to two but four women, happiness—real happiness—was an impossibility it seemed.  That is to say God created the world perfect and halfway through the first book in the Bible, all is broken and futile—far from what He originally intended.  And yet—and yet God was working.

Therefore two short lessons are in order as we reflect on this text in Genesis 30:

Lesson 1: His way really is the best way.

Lesson 2: When we forget lesson 1 (and all of us most  certainly will at one time or another)—He works in our messes.

He multiplies mercies to us in our messes. He does not leave us alone. He deals with Jacob, Leah, and Rachel in different and very specific ways, but abandons not a one of them. See Him now working in the darkness—in the womb of the hated, Leah, to bring about our salvation one day through the Lion of the tribe of her son Judah. See Him working in the heart of the favored and the loved, Rachel, to show her at last the difference between what her own schemes (and even mandrakes) can do—leave her barren—and what God alone can do—give her a son—even Joseph who would become a prince in Egypt.  See Him working in Jacob—chiseling and shaping the deceiver into the very namesake of His chosen people: Israel. 

There is no mess that you or I have made that’s too big for God. Indeed, He is equal to the task. He is big enough and He is working in our messes.

Posted by Craig Lester with

CONFLICT RESOLUTION 101: PERSPECTIVE

Genesis 2:21  "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

 

Great marriages are not the ones that never have conflict or problems.  Great marriages are the ones that have learned how to resolve them.  Marriage hinges on this simple truth.  It is a consistent challenge to learn how to resolve conflict as oppose to reinforcing it with war and isolation.  I am reminded of Paul's words when he talks about the thorn in his flesh.  He prayed for God to remove it, and God's response was, "My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness."  Another version says it this way, "His power is made perfect in weakness."  In other words, God was saying...you need me...we were made for each other...we are perfect for each other...that's why I am here...my power, your weakness.  Let's do this, and let's do this together.  He changes Paul's perspective from the need to remove his issue to his need to depend on HIM.  

Perspective is a powerful thing.  It can make or break a marriage, but it is one of many keys to having a good marriage.  Perspective in marriage looks like the ability to see things from your perspective, while being able to see it from your spouse's perspective, while being able to see it from God's!  Perspective can keep you together, or it can tear two people apart.  It is the difference between a marriage that is just surviving and one that is thriving.

It is vital to a healthy marriage that you be able to see your marriage, your spouse, and life from different perspectives.  In the midst of conflict say to yourself, "I know how I feel about this, but how does my spouse see this and how does God view this?"  And then after you have done that, find someone else you trust and get their perspective.  And then take all of that and pray,  "Father, help me see what you see!"  OR, you can just be right like many of us feel we always are and continue to be frustrated, taking the same issue into the future.  Knowing that it will just come up again and again in different forms gnawing at the fiber of your marriage. 

The truth is you can be right, and still gain insight into the perspective of your spouse.  And then you can take that insight and TRULY minister to them!  You can TRULY minister to them, serving them with love and compassion and patience.  Adam didn't wake up from surgery with the perspective that we are different, but that the woman came from him and she was a part of who he was.  This is not just your spouse, Adam; this is someone who came from you.  Eve is a vital part of who you are.  The question is how well do you know yourself, and do you really give value to all the different aspects of how God has created you (marriage)!?!?!  

Father, help me see what my spouse sees and help me see what YOU see!  And after I see that, how me value what they see and value what you see.

Amen

Posted by Marc Stern with

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