Do you often try to “fix things” for everyone else?
Week 46 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: “Lord, what shall this man do? …What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” John 21:21,22
OSWALD: “One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, ‘He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.’ You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, ‘What is that to you?’” – (My Utmost for His Highest, November 15th)
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How It Spoke to Me…
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? A haughty attempt at omniscience lurking beneath our near-clinical fixation with fixing those around us?
“Amateur providence,” that’s what Oswald calls it.
I’ve played surrogate messiah 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 Savior – playing the hero-rescuer rather than waiting for our powerful Redeemer to do His work.
When I usurp His place, 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 rather than attempt to trump Him.
Better to wait on God to do what He deems best in my friend’s life rather than rush in to interfere.
Better to “be still” when I don’t understand than be sorry when finally I do.
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.
<< Read WEEK 45 – “The Problem of Self-Pity”
Read WEEK 47 – “Laying Down Our Sword” >>
I’d love to hear from you…how have you been tempted to step in and “save” someone rather than waiting on God?