When it comes to carrying out our God-given responsibilities, choosing the easy way, in the “here and now,” is not always the “easy way” in the end. God can, and will, provide a way of escape! Find out how, in this selection.
Home from Hospital
I arrived home at about 10:00 p.m. It was late, especially this day! Elizabeth Katherine had just been born! Had I not even been there for the delivery? Yes, in the same way that I had been there for the birth of our now 2-year-old son, Daniel Fraser. It had been a long day. Somehow, I was feeling rather experienced in this whole matter of giving birth (or, at least, in attending to births).
As I walked into our apartment that evening, alone, and feeling rather tired from the whole experience, something began to bother me, as though I was being sidetracked from what I really needed to do just then. Maybe it was the fatigue, or maybe it was something else, but all of a sudden something inside of me, it seemed, wanted to get up and run away my present responsibilities!
I knew there was work to do. I had before me the responsibility of making sure everything was just right for the baby, and for the mother, before they would get back home in a just a few short days from the hospital. And yes, there was little 2-year old Daniel, too, who was staying at our friend’s place at that time. He, too, needed to be able to come home to a situation, which was prepared “just right” for everyone. And all of that, at this point in time, was my God-given responsibility!
Miracles of God
There was work to be done. I had to get the crib prepared for the eventual arrival home of our new baby in a few days. She was so precious. How wonderful it had been to hold her just a few short hours prior to my coming in the door. She was so small, to be sure. Her beautiful black hair was like her mother’s.
Our 2-year old son, Daniel, now had a baby sister. How proud he would be to see her for the first time on the very next day when he and I went to see mommy and the new baby together. Would he understand who she was? Would he realize where she had come from? Would he be able to relate the fact that her previously inflated tummy had been the temporary dwelling place of his new sister? The questions might not get answered, but what mattered most, was that Daniel now had a new baby sister! This was the real gold amidst all the unanswered questions.
At last, Daniel would now have someone to play with when he was at home. (We all needed people to play with, didn’t we? Of course, we did! Even adults needed playmates! And Daniel was no exception, at that.) He was her brother … Daniel now had a baby sister! How profound, these two creatures originating from the same parents. They were a miracle of God, and meant to belong to the same family.
Gracious Song from Above
Soon, I began to sing a tune. At first, I didn’t know where it came from. But, oddly enough, it was a very nice tune, and it specifically seemed to be helping me focus on my present responsibilities – how wonderful!
I sung and hummed the nice tune. It was a special tune. Where did it come from? God was good. And because He was good, I knew that the song that I was now singing had to be from Him. After all, it was really helping me to do the right thing! (And we all know that the right thing is what God wants us to do! So it seems to make sense!)
Every Good and Perfect Gift
As it said so clearly in the Bible, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. (James 1:17) Yes, it was obvious that God was a good God, and never did anything really good happen to a person that wasn’t somehow connected with Him.
I sung the tune, and then walked into the newborn baby’s room. There, I looked at the crib that needed making up. There were things to be done, and my desire to flee would have to remain just that — a mere desire. In fact, my desire to flee disappeared completely as soon as I began to prepare the crib — that is, as soon as my faith began to be put into action. Yes, life had changed, all right. It was now time to assume the responsibilities that God had entrusted to me as a husband and as a father – even as a father the second time around.
Assuming our God-given responsibilities, and making things work out for us and for our families was what life was all about, was it not? It would have been easy for me to have avoided my God-given responsibility in this matter. But who was I?
Was I the old me, who lacked responsibility and desired merely to live an easy life, or was I the man of God that God had called me to be (referred to as the “new creation” in Scripture)?
According to the Bible, and according to my own stand as a “newborn” Christian believer (see John 3:3 about what it means to be “born again”), I was indeed a “new creation”, just like it said in the Bible (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In a sense, having become a newborn creation in Christ, I now had the responsibility of living out that newly discovered reality in the “real life” sense! That was not always easy! That meant, sometimes, saying “no” to my own desires and saying “yes” to God’s! That was sometimes not so easy.
Forbidden Fruit of Self-pity
The choice to be responsible was my choice and no one but I could make it. In a sense, the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve was being repeated here. Either Adam and Eve could have chosen to be responsible, or they could have chosen not to have been (we know what they chose). God allowed them to choose, by allowing them to choose whether or not they were going to take of the forbidden fruit or not! At a moment like this, it seemed like there was some “forbidden fruit” being placed in front of me. That forbidden fruit was the sense of self-pity I was tempted to feel for myself as a result of severe, arthritic pain in my bones!
For years, arthritis had been my chief enemy, and now, it seemed, at a very time when I needed to do some important work, it was back on my doorstep. Does this ring a bell with you, if you are suffering from some type of disease or problem? Why is it that at the very time when something needs doing, that the pain seems to get the worse! Aha! There was an enemy in the camp, trying to dissuade me, and trying to get me to “back off” from being all that I was ever intended to be. This was a “kairos” moment for the enemy — his “opportune time.” Scripture talked about that. Satan had his opportune times, like the time he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4). That was when Jesus was at his weakest. Yes Jesus did not bow to the temptation. Neither would I.
Would I partake of the forbidden “fruit” of self-pity by allowing my feelings to overwhelm me? Or would I choose to let it pass me by? Fortunately, for my sake and for my family’s sake, I chose to go along with the tune, which God had given to me. The tune, you see, was the “way out.” You see, when Satan is there ready to place the bait, so too is God there providing all that we need to stay clear of that bait. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but with that temptation, provide a way of escape!” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Soon, I was even feeling better (emotionally, and, yes, even physically, too!) as I began to carry out my God-given responsibilities. Much to my surprise, in fact, a great sense of joy began to come over me, filling my soul. The Holy Spirit was at work in all of this. Evidently, if one were to examine the situation closely, I think he or she would have to conclude that He (God) was the One who was testing me that day. Would I be faithful or not? For God, it seems that this was a good time to see. Fortunately, I passed the test.
It seems that during that evening, someone (God) was watching over me to help me “do the good,” and “turn away from the wrong,” as it were. Being a Christian, I am convinced that it was God who was helping me. It was He who sent that song to help carry me through my time of difficulty.
Yes, God is a good God. As it says in the Scriptures, He is a God who tests the hearts and minds of men and women, so that He can reward them according to their conduct. “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve”. (Jeremiah 17:10). Should it then surprise us that these trials do come along? James says that we should count it all joy when we undergo these tests. (James 1:1).
Perhaps today, you are finding yourself in the midst of a certain situation in which you are tempted to flee, like I myself was at that time. Perhaps you even feel overwhelmed by arthritic pain (or perhaps, like with myself at the time, it is a desire to feel sorry for yourself!). I myself have learned that the easy way (running from your present responsibilities) is not necessarily the easy way in the end!