I love it when God gives me an epiphany! Now this one that he gave me this week is not a new revelation to mankind but it hit home to me personally so that is why it was an epiphany to me.
I've always pondered over the scripture that says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. (Isa 55:8)
That's just a little too beyond my comprehension. So if my thoughts aren't God's thoughts, then what are his thoughts? And how do they differ?
I do a little bit of lay counseling and have for many years now. In part of my training I learned to mirror people so that I can share like experiences with them to help them find Godly solutions to earthly problems. In doing so, that means I am vulnerable with stories I share of my own life. I don't mind being vulnerable. If a story is unpleasant I don't mind telling it because God has grown me through the valleys and I would not be the person I am today if I did not have those experiences.
However, here's where the human mind perplexes me even in the Christian realm.
We have been taught to count our blessings from the time we are children. It's a good Christian teaching and certainly not anything you should not do.
But do we realize those that we count our blessings when hearing of sin, and the downfall of mankind? You might just think about that a little bit and mull it over.
I've been preparing a study on the book of Nehemiah and his story. When Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem after the exiles returned and how the city was in shambles and its wall had been broken down, he did five things. He sat, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed.
In the last couple years I've shared a very difficult story with people. It involves childhood abuse and even carries over into adulthood. Two women took the opportunity to make themselves feel better by comparing my situation with theirs (more of the mirroring happening) and proclaimed that my abuser was far worse than theirs. I remember having to point out to both Christian ladies that sin is sin in God's eyes. The sin of my relative was no worse or on any scale with that of their relative. Sin is sin, and all suffer from its effects.
However, what God showed me this week is this. When telling that same story (not in a counseling setting) but in a conversational way the statement was this. "After hearing your story, I feel so blessed." Really? I know it's a standard Christian statement but it has me perplexed. Why would you feel blessed by hearing a tragic story? Again, I have to think that human nature wants to put comparisons on aspects of their lives to make themselves feel better. And if you feel better, then perhaps you don't have to go to those dark closets that God wants to take you to.
He wants to take you by the hand just like a small child and lead you to the areas that need exposing, and purging, and cleansing with his blood.
His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. If Nehemiah had said upon hearing the plight of the exiles, "After hearing your story, I feel so blessed. I was born in captivity and I live in a palace where I am cupbearer to the King. I wear fine clothes, and have safety and contentment in my existence" - well, that man would never have sat, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed. He would never have been sad in the presence of the King and received permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. He would not have made a difference in the lives of the Jews.
But look at another story. Jesus could have said, "After seeing all this sin in the world and bad stories, I am so blessed. I am the father's only son and I sit in heaven where I reap the rewards of eternity and ever lasting glory and beauty." If Jesus had thought that way, he would not have willingly taken on the role of servant and suffered the cross taking on the sin of the world. He would have stayed put in the heavenly realm counting his blessings while mankind was doomed.
Think about it. Perhaps we need to do more sitting, weeping, mourning, fasting and praying when we hear stories of abuse and the sin of mankind and less making ourselves feel better because the sin we've experienced is lower down on the self important scale of our intellectual ladders.
LaRose Karr is a freelance writer, and speaker. She enjoys speaking and ministering to God's people and loves leading bible studies. She believes her writing is a gift from God and gives HIM all the glory! Her work has appeared in numerous compilation books and devotional guides. In 2009 she will have devotions and stories published in books by Adams Media. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org