VERSE: “Lord, what shall this man do? …What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” John 21:21,22
OSWALD: “One of our severest lessons comes from the stubborn refusal to see that we must not interfere in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interrupting with God’s order for others. You see a person suffering and you say – He shall not suffer, and I will see that he does not. You put your hand straight in front of God’s permissive will to prevent it, and God says – ‘What is that to thee?’” (November 15th)
MY THOUGHT: I have a friend walking through an incredibly difficult time right now. Things seem to be getting worse not better, and I confess there have been times I’ve wanted to put my hand out and say, “This can’t be right! Please, God! Make the suffering stop.”
Because I love her, I wish I had a magic wand to make her pain poof-disappear. My prayers have provided endless suggestions on how God might want to handle the situation differently. After all, can’t He see what strain she’s under? What good could such prolonged torment produce?
With Oswald’s words this morning, I’m reminded of how often we humans tend to secretly judge God as being less loving than us. Less concerned and somewhat careless, surely less wise. If we were in charge, we think, we wouldn’t allow our friend to go through such intense pain.
Now, I’m sure none of us verbalize these thoughts, but if we could peel back the layer of frustration, I wonder if we wouldn’t find an insidious form of pride hiding below? Lurking beneath our near-clinical fixation with fixing those around us?
“Amateur providence,” Oswald calls it – I’ve played that part more times than I’d like to admit. For sincere concern can morph into creeping unbelief which screams for action when the situation goes unchanged. It isn’t long before I find myself masquerading as the Messiah – playing the hero-rescuer rather than allowing the gentle Redeemer to do his work.
When I do, however, I may unwittingly rescue my friend from the very thing intended to bring them freedom. Worse, I may perform unholy CPR on something God has intended to die.
I’m learning it’s better to trust God than attempt to trump Him. Better to “be still” when I don’t understand than be sorry when finally I do. Better to wait on God to what He deems best in my friend’s life than rush to interfere.
For, when it comes right down to it, as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, I only “know in part.” Our Heavenly Father, on the other hand, really does know best.