Countless times I have witnessed miracles in my office as God’s Spirit and His Word have worked in a hardened heart. Last week, a young woman walked into my office angry . . . and rightfully so. Married with two small children she felt:
Taken advantage of . . .
Unappreciated . . .
Disrespected . . .
Rather than argue I empathized . . . I confessed the times when I have wanted to run away too. We talked about how the decisions made today will impact our lives and the lives of those we are tempted to leave behind. She was at a crossroads and ready to run. How did I know? As I have told many a client, there is little that comes through my office door that I have not had at least a taste of in my own life experience. I well remember those times when I have been DONE with life . . . ready to escape the burdens that seemed impossible to bear. How about you?
The challenge in counseling this angry young woman was to convict rather than condemn; to help her to realize the grave danger she was in. That is where the beautiful working of God’s Spirit and the Scriptures come in. I shared a bit of my testimony, how to this day my children (now grown and with families of their own) are grateful for how God stepped into my life, sparing our family from the tragic consequences of my abandoning them. When God wakened me to my anger He helped me to see the dangerous possibilities my sin could cause. The problem with running is that the consequences eventually will catch up with us.
We turned to the Scriptures for the perspective we lacked. Considered to be the last letter written by Paul, the apostle poured out everything he had left in him because he knew his time was short. Writing to a young man named Timothy (who Paul thought of as a son) it is a letter that speaks to the very soul of an individual. I listened as she read:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
She stopped reading and looked at me wide-eyed saying, “How could God know so well the depth of our depravity?” She shook her head and continued on:
“They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” (II Timothy 3:1-9)
She spoke quietly as she shared her first impressions ; “‘Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God . . .’ that is surely me.” She shuddered as she then whispered, “I don’t want that ‘weak-willed woman’ to be me!” I watched as the hardness left her countenance and she grabbed a tissue, grateful for a God who saves us from ourselves.
Life experience has taught me that it is far better to run to God with problems than to run away from them (and Him.) Next Session we will probably turn to God’s Counsel in Isaiah 30:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” (Verses 15-22)
No matter what difficulty you may be facing, give thanks to God for the clean slate of today. Run to Him in repentance and faith as you trust Him to help you stay the course you are on. Give thanks to Him for His love and mercy; give thanks that He has not abandoned you. Then watch, wait and listen for the direction you need . . . in the confidence that He is worthy of your trust.
All to His Glory!