Larry and I were promised a refund from a Christian company for a service they were unable to provide. Over a six month time period, I tried to prompt them to actually send the refund but there were excuses after excuses or else, “It’s in the mail.” NOT! I was angry and frustrated, and the fact that the company claimed to be Christian owned and run, made me even more outraged at the injustice and the abuse of God’s good name. I knew the Lord was calling me to keep the attitude of a steward rather than an owner of our money–and the refund–but I wavered back and forth. Why wouldn’t God want His money returned? It didn’t make much sense but I tried to surrender over and over again.
At one point I felt like I really did release control. I declared that even if the money were not returned, it was God’s money and He could do whatever He wanted with it. I was at peace.
The next day as I continued praying about the situation, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of a promise I’d made and put off fulfilling. I was struck with the similarity to the unfulfilled refund, although my promise was tiny compared to the refund. The degree of the importance of the two promises were miles apart, but I realized it didn’t matter. I was being as unfaithful as the Christian company who owed us a refund. I was convicted and within a day, had taken the action needed to keep the promise I’d made. I figured it wouldn’t make any difference about the refund, but God had certainly gotten my attention and I had responded.
But within a week, the refund check arrived, even though I’d not contacted the company again. Did my surrender or my obedience, or both, make a difference? I didn’t know. But the Lord had used the conflict to bring me to obedience.
I didn’t know, but I also knew that the Lord says in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” There was a strong possibility I was reaping what I had sown. And with obedience came the reaping of a blessing.
As I’ve paid attention to challenging situations in my life, or noticed patterns of conflict, sometimes I can see how what I’m currently facing is related to the choices I’ve made in the past. And this has also played out as Larry and I have opportunities to explore the challenges other people face. For instance (but not actually related to the people we interact with):
A man faces the contempt of a friend who will not forgive; it turns out he has a lot of bitterness in his own life.
A woman can’t understand the anger of a family member toward her; yet she is angry with a friend from the past.
A man has a super-critical boss who is never satisfied with his work; yet his children would say he still hasn’t accepted them in their imperfections.
These are obvious examples to make a point. Often, the connections aren’t as obvious. But they are there. We may have to look hard to see them. But if we will, we’ll see that our current circumstances are God’s wake up call and invitation to bring greater holiness into our lives and draw closer to Him.
Next time, I’ll continue this thread of thought by looking at the book of Obadiah–of all places. Maybe you’ll want to read the one chapter of Obadiah and see if you can find the verse that speaks of all this.
And in the meantime, ask yourself, “What could God be trying to do in my life by allowing my current struggle or conflict?
P.S. I was recently able to put a snippet of one of my speaking videos on my blog. Please check it out in the column on the left side. If you receive my posts by email, I hope you’ll go to my blog by clicking on the “Heart Change” title. You can also go to YouTube.com and search for “Kathy Collard Miller.” Thanks!