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Monday, September 4, 2017

Who made me do it?

Those who love your teachings will find true peace. Nothing can make them fall. Lord, I am waiting for you to save me. I obey your commands. I follow your rules. I love them very much. I obey all your instructions and rules, because you know everything I do
(Psalm 119:165-168 ERV)

The words, "Nothing can MAKE them fall," jumped off the page at me this morning because I sometimes deal with the issue of feeling like I had no choice but to do something I did. The truth is, we always have a choice and we always have an arm stronger than ours to lean into when the choices get hard. The word "make" is what I really want to emphasize. Way back in the day, there was a father-son sit com in which one of the characters always cried out to his dearly departed wife, faking chest pain each time he didn't get something his way. His intent was to manipulate - to "make" someone do something he really wanted them to do, but were putting up some resistance to doing. There are times we push back against all resistance to NOT choose a certain course, all the while being determined we WANT to go down that path - then we blame someone for "making" us end up where we are.  No one makes us fall - we do that pretty much on our own!

What strikes me next in this passage are the words, "Lord, I am waiting for YOU to save me." Isn't that just like us? We get ourselves painted into some corner and then we stand there just waiting for God to deliver us from our mess. He loves us too much to leave us there and we know it, but there are times when we might just have to stand in that corner a little while until we get good and tired of being there! Why? God isn't always quick to deliver us when we want to accuse others for the muddle we have made for ourselves. He knows we need time to see where our disobedience caused the issue at hand - too quick of a deliverance may not change our desire to go that same direction again. It isn't that he wants us to suffer - it is that he desires us to see how limited, or restricted wrong choices leave us in terms of being truly "free".

While we may want to blame another as "making" us behave poorly, the truth is that we do so many times without much influence from others. We make those choices because it is what WE wanted. When my children were tiny, they'd be placed in a "walker" (a small, confined seat with wheels and a huge circular bumper that kept them from tipping over). They'd move along until they came to some obstacle they couldn't free themselves from and then they'd cry out for "deliverance" from being "stuck". Did they remember not to go there again? Not really. Time after time, they'd cry out for deliverance, having wedged themselves into that same position again and again. There were times I'd leave them just a little longer than they might have wanted to be there, not out of meanness, but because I wanted them to see it wasn't a good place for them to go. The good news is that God is there to rescue us, but the timing of the rescue is sometimes directly related to the lessons our hearts have embraced while we are looking up for our deliverance.

We aren't "made" to misbehave - it is our own choice. The moments between our misbehavior and our deliverance may vary, but in that lapse of time it is God's hope we might learn where we ended up wasn't a good place for us to be. Just sayin!