Sometimes, in spite of our pleas, those we love most get into a rut and seem unable to change or they simply refuse to change in. Often we respond by “doubling down” and tirelessly try to change them with even more pleading. But what if God has other ways than through us to bring about change?
What Doesn’t Work
The woman was adamant: “I just think I need to tell him that what he’s doing is wrong.”
“Do you think it’s at all possible that he doesn’t know you think what he is doing is wrong?”
“Oh, he knows all right.”
“Then what’s the use of telling him what he already knows, as if what he lacks is information?”
This mom was frustrated with one of her family members. With a good heart and good intentions, she was bound and determined to “turn him around.” But sometimes in our determination, we lose all sense of logic. By her own admission, the person in question knew what she thought and felt, but she thought what she needed to do to “change” him was to let him know what she thought and felt.
I understand this frustration. I really do. When we are concerned about someone, our natural thought is, “What can I do to save them?”
I’m not saying we shouldn’t try. It’s noble and godly that we want to get involved. But sometimes we have to recognize that there are many ways for God to reach a person, and sometimes those ways don’t involve us.
For instance: wives, you may have an ongoing issue with your husband. You may have stated your feelings and concerns so often that as soon as you say the first sentence, your husband could give you, verbatim, your next ten sentences. And yet you continue to think that another “talk” will fix everything.
There comes a time when we have to say, “Lord, apparently I’m not getting through here. Would you please send someone he will listen to?”
The same is true if you’re trying to reach a child, or a recalcitrant wife. We naturally want to be part of the solution, but we must learn to love the solution more than we love being a part of it.
This means, at times we simply have to wait for God to bring about another solution. That’s not easy to do—even excruciating at times—so here are four truths that will give us hope while we wait:
- Remember that God loves this person more than you do. He isn’t blind to what’s going on. You don’t have to convince Him that something needs to be done. He’s already on it.
- Remember that God knows this person better than you do. If you can’t get through to them, God doesn’t throw up His hands in despair and say, “Well, I guess I’m out of options.” Have faith that God can/will engineer another avenue of revelation.
- Remember that God created glaciers. In Sacred Influence, I interview a wife who loved her husband well for over two decades before he became a believer. I’ve talked to parents (a very famous one, in fact) whose children terrified them with their actions until, years later, they finally submitted to God and became active workers in God’s Kingdom. Any approach you take toward change has to be something you can do for the long-haul. God created glaciers, perhaps to show us the beauty of movement that is all but impossible to see while it’s happening.
- Remember that as long as you are fixated on being the only solution, you become blind to the fact that there are things that need to be fixed about you as well. Focus on those things. You might even be part of the problem. Maybe you’re only five percent of the problem. But focus on your five percent.
These aren’t easy things to remember. It’s painful to intercede for someone and sense God replying, “You’ve done what you can. It’s time for you to leave this in my hands.” These four truths, however, should help us at least move in that direction. We must acknowledge God as God and accept that His solution may not involve us.
Gary Thomas, GaryThomas.com