Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Our Problems and Our Responsibility

The first factor we looked at when considering the three factors that are involved in every problem and situation that we face was, Our Problems and God’s Sovereignty.  The second factor in the trials and problems (and the good stuff) that we experience in life is our own responsibility.

We make choices every day and it is often our own choices (or lack of choices) that play into our problems.  If I impulsively gamble all my money away I cannot blame God or anyone else for my own folly.  I am ultimately responsible for my own choices and their consequences.  Proverbs 19:3 states, A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.  I have worked with people who continue to make poor choices for their life and yet they shake an angry fist at God for their situation.

Another way our human responsibility comes into view is the role we play in bringing about the positive things that happen for our life.  I work with singles that have a strong desire to be married and some will tell me that they do not feel that God is blessing them with a mate.  However when I probe as to what they are actively doing to meet people, I will sometimes find that they are not really doing much of anything.  To those who are very socially inactive and not putting themselves in a position to meet people I might say something like, “Even though I know that God could miraculously bring someone into your life, the chance of this happening while you are repeatedly sitting in front of the television with the remote and a gallon of ice cream is much more unlikely.”

Finally, we need to consider and work on our own personal issues that lie beneath our situations.  Several years ago, I was working with a man who had a lot of deep personal and relational issues.  In addition to much pent up anger and bitterness he had significant challenges in relating to people and getting along with others.  As a result, he had been through several jobs due to simply quitting or being let go because of his poor attitude and actions.  One day as we were talking he stated that he was not seeing God’s blessing in his life.  God was not blessing him with a steady job and a successful career.  In the midst of our discussion on God’s blessing I pointed him to his own responsibility in the balance by stating, “Even if God were to graciously bless you with a job, you still need to be able to keep it.  You still have the responsibility of dealing with any underlying issues and problems that hinder you from getting along with others and maintaining relational peace in the workplace.”

As we look to the underlying factors of the problems that we face we cannot neglect looking at our own responsibility in the mix of life.  To fail to look at ourselves may ultimately lead to a victim mentality and blaming God and everyone else for our situation in life.

Next I will focus on factor #3!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In this series I will touch upon three factors that are involved in every situation and problem that we experience or face.  It is important to understand these three factors as we seek to make sense of the trails and temptations that we face.

Our Problems and God's Sovereignty
The first factor is God’s sovereignty.  God’s sovereignty has to do with His authority, rule, power, and control.  Whatever we are facing (or have faced) in life, God's sovereignty is at the center of it.  Although we may not fully understand, God has a reason and a purpose for everything that happens under the sun.  There is no ‘comedy of errors’ in life.  As Job, one of the greatest human sufferers of all time stated concerning God, I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)  Whatever shoes you have walked in, God is ultimately in the midst of your life and circumstances.  Nothing gets past God's notice, permission, and eternal plan for your life.

I am an avid ice-hockey player and still play at the ripe young age of 53.  Two summers ago I broke my ankle in a freak accident while playing in a game and had to have surgery to repair the damage.  As I thought this would certainly be a career ending injury my first response was, “Lord, why did this have to happen?  I have played hockey all my life and it is something that I really enjoy and look forward to.  Please don’t take this away from me!”  However, I am convinced that God’s sovereignty was right in the middle of my infamous hockey accident.  Firstly, I was giving way too much attention and focus on my ice-hockey.  I had played in a winter league, two spring leagues, and was currently playing in a summer league.  Secondly, I was continuously talking about writing a book on marriage, but was never really getting around to it.  I believe that God was sending me the message that my priorities were off and it was time to get writing that book I was always talking about.  So, while I was laid up with a broken ankle I wrote a book titled, Tails that Wag the Dog in Marriage that I am currently in the process of getting published.

In Isaiah 55:9-11 we read’ As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I am a firm believer that God's sovereignty is the most significant factor in every problem or situation that we face.  Even if we cannot clearly see God's purpose and our situation makes no sense to us, God's sovereignty is at the center of everything that we encounter.

Stay tuned for factor #2!