September 22, 2011

Light only for the next step

Earlier this week my husband and I made a major decision. I felt that we needed a third opinion and asked our son to give it. At first, he was uncertain what to say, then he began to question my motives for this decision.

Those questions irked me, making me aware once again how people do not like to think about motives. However, he was on the right track. The outcome is that my husband made the decision because he thought it would be best for me and I made it because I thought it would be best for him. But at heart, it was not something either of us wanted for ourselves.

This reminds me of the tale about a woman who sold her hair to buy her husband a gold watch chain, and he sold his watch to buy her a tortoise hair comb. Of course the expression of selfless love is poignant, but I’m thinking that better communication would have made this story, and ours, have a more practical result.

At least in our case, the decision is reversible. We can change it, yet that poses a bigger uncertainty. I’m quite happy that we cancel out, but hubby still wants to do it for my sake, not because I’m wanting it but because he thinks it would be best for me. What do I do with that? This morning’s devotional reading takes me to a prayer . . . 

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:1–2)
The “faint” heart is translated in other versions as “overwhelmed” — which describes my emotions about this current situation. I sense God bidding me to come close and talk to Him about it. At the same time, I’d like some direction in plain, black and white words from the Bible. I want to know what to do.

In looking for a solution, another devotional reading catches my eye. This one offers this verse . . . 

You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. (John 13:13)
The author of this reading says that the terms “teacher” and “Lord” both imply that Jesus Christ knows more than I do. Of course that is true. When I call out to Him, I can be certain that He knows what I do not know. Whatever He tells me will be based on a wisdom that my eyes may or may not see. That is, obedience is usually a plain “do this because . . .” but sometimes it is only a “do this” without explanation. I’m to walk by faith, not by sight.

God also knows the future. Whatever is best for me, or for my husband, cannot be decided by what life is like right now or by what we think might happen later. Going to the Lord means that we want our choices based on the wisdom of One who is “higher than” ourselves and higher than our abilities to understand or guess what lies ahead.

God, I’m so impatient. I’d like to know for sure, have a black and white plan that lays out each step. Yet I also know You do not lead me that way. You give me “the next step” and expect me to walk into that bit of light before You give me direction for the next step after it.

I am thankful that my husband will make sacrifices to care for me. I’m also thankful that You give me the willingness to make sacrifices for him. Now You seem to be asking me to do something a bit different; to yield to what I don’t really want (or think I don’t want) just so he can willingly make the sacrifice to give it to me. Sigh. Only the Rock who is higher than both of us can make sense of this one.

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