Susanne Schuberth’s new blog post “The Simplicity that is Ours in Christ”  spoke clearly to me about the struggle I have been going through. She wrote, “If our Christian life does not always appear to be that easy or simple, maybe, there is a reason why we sometimes struggle so much. This Bible verse… [2 Corinthians 11:3] suggests that our focus might turn out to be the root cause of our conflicts.” She went on to speak about the simplicity with which a baby sees the world when they are discovering the things around them for the first time. They look upon everything and every person in wide eyed wonder and if we look back into their eyes they will soon smile at us. It is so refreshing to see such innocence in this corrupted world. Infants are fascinated by little things. They can play with their toes for hours, a simple mobile hanging over them in their crib can keep them entertained, especially if they can reach it and make it twirl. The simpler their toys are the better. Little kids can spend hours in a cardboard box, pretending it is a house, a car or a boat and they will drag their favorite “banky” into it with them and happily fall asleep.
So in light of this truth about the simplicity that is born in a child, Susanne quoted the following words of warning that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that had lost its innocence in Christ.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Cor 11:3, AKJV)
And after taking a little child into his lap Jesus said,
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:2-4, ESV2011)
I was drawn to the word “simplicity” in the above verse and looked up its meaning in the Greek.
haplotes (ha-plo’-tees) n.
2. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking).
3. (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal).
This verse speaks of the battles we go through when we walk by our own wills. Satan tempts us in his subtle ways to do his will and not rest in the will and timing of the Lord. If we submit to his ways we lose the simplicity of our relationship IN Christ. Oh, how the flesh wants to run out ahead of God’s leading. In so doing we lose the singleness of mind that is ours with the mind of Christ.
Simplicity! When God is leading us everything is simple. Everything falls into place in our lives, but not necessarily the way we would have planned it according to our fleshly thinking, but according to His wonderful foreknowledge and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In Psalms and Proverbs we read:
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24, ESV2011)
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18, NIV)
While we walk in His simplicity, He gives us that peace that surpasses all understanding because we are walking in God’s rest.
Recently a thought came into my mind that we should move down to Texas to be near two of our grown children and their families who live there. I reasoned, “I am so tired of these cold winters and battling with all this snow, trying to keep us plowed and shoveled out. Those grandkids of ours down there in Texas are rapidly growing up without us really knowing them and having a relationship with them, and we are running out of time. They are starting to establish their own lives without us (three of them have already married and had babies of their own)!” I went on to reason that our youngest and only daughter lives down there with her husband and we have a lot in common with them both, so why not move so we can have more time with them as well as the others?
So, I set out to make it happen without asking God first. When will I ever learn? For the past three weeks we tried to get lined up with a bank loan and what a battle that has been! The more we gave into their demands for more information the more forms that had to be filled. The more we gave, the more they wanted. It was crazy! Then there were all the forms that the realty agency wanted filled out… all this being done by remote over the internet with their broken websites and broken lines of communication. Around in circles we went! Arg!
Then came the house hunting. The prices down there in Texas were lower than here in Idaho so everything seemed right to make the switch. BUT we soon found out that “all that glittered was not gold.” Finding fault with the places we were interested in, the banks would not loan on the ones in our price range, even with a large down on our part. It was an uphill grind for the last three weeks, and I finally threw in the towel. What we wanted might have been God’s plan, but it sure was not HIS timing. The more time went on, the more the interest rates were going up… daily! The more they went up, the less we could afford because the monthly payments also went up to cover the increase in interest. Also a lot of people from richer states were moving to Texas with their large wads of cash from selling their real estate and they were willing to pay more. This was driving the prices of housing up rapidly in Texas just as it has in Idaho. In short, it just was not falling together as I thought it would. And I know from experience when God is in something, it REALLY comes together and it doesn’t require a lot of struggling on our part. In short it became evident that, GOD WAS NOT IN IT!
In this three week battle with me determined to make it happen, I quit walking in singleness of mind toward God and in His will. I was not walking in “sincerity without self-seeking and abundant generosity.” The simplicity of my walk had ceased.
I finally laid it all down and stopped trying to make happen what I had reasoned was a good thing sanctioned by God. Something might be God’s will, but it also has to be done God’s way and in His timing. As it turned out, down deep inside I was running from something He wanted me to take care of right here in northern Idaho… my relationship with our oldest son and his dear wife.
I’ve had a stingy heart toward our oldest boy and he has been a lot like Jacob of old, always wanting his birthright and he seemed to know inwardly that it was his right to ask for it. He always wanted me to bless him as his father and affirm him in whatever he was doing. We would move away from where he was living and soon he and his wife would move to be close to us once again. This happened numerous times. It was like Jacob wrestling with that angel and saying, “I will not let go of you until you bless me!”
I had a hard time with what should have been a natural thing between a father and his son, because my father never blessed me and rarely showed me that what I did in my life pleased him, though I followed in his footsteps in so many ways, both good and bad. I just wanted to be like my Dad and have his approval. I think that this must be a common thing between boys (girls, too) and their fathers. This is exactly what our oldest son was doing with me, and I was unable to give him a blessing just as my father was unable to give it to me. It has been like a generational curse because my grandfather was the same way with my dad.
This week after I quit trying to escape to Texas and my eyes were opened to what God wanted me to take care of and I obeyed, the curse was broken. God prompted us to sign over the house we owned in a nearby town in which our son and wife were living. So we invited them over and gave them a “Quit Claim Deed” to the place. And not only that, I was able to hug our son and tell him how proud I was of all that he had become. God had opened my eyes to see him as He and his dear wife sees him, a generous and loving man who was a success in life as he went on to grow proficient in the electrical trade, just as I had before him. Now that gulf between us is well on its way to being healed, thanks to the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our two lives as well as in our spouses. We are looking forward to seeing more of them in the days ahead and fellowshipping with them in the Spirit as God leads. After seeing the tears that were shed by them two nights ago, it is obvious that an open door has been placed before us that was not there before.
One time years ago after a couple sessions with a Christian counselor he told me, “You are a runner, aren’t you?” At first I wasn’t sure what he meant, because I hated running track in high school. But he told me that running was the way I dealt with my problems, and he got me to see it. Then he said, “YOU ARE THROUGH RUNNING!” There are many instance of people who were runners in the Bible. Elijah ran from Ahab and Jezebel. Moses ran from Pharaoh and his calling to deliver the Hebrew people from their slavery, but he had to go back after hiding out for 40 years. Jacob ran from Esau after he stole the birthright from his older brother, but he had to go back and “face the music.” The night before they met again Jacob wrestled with an angel, the result was the angel touched him in his thigh so that he could not run any longer! And when day dawned, he limped toward his brother and his band of rough looking men expecting to die, but God had changed Esau’s heart to not only forgive Jacob but to love him and embrace him when they finally met. God had done a miracle in both of their lives.
God will not let us run away from our problems or any open wounds with members of our families or other believers. He will make us deal with them so we can move on in Christ. He has “held my feet to the fire” regarding this so many times. I have run away from broken relationships and He has arranged it so I had to go back and try to be restored with them in each case. Each time I obeyed Him in these matters it was like a big weight was severed from a hot air balloon and afterward I went through a season of rising ever higher in the Lord. We might want to flush the offenders from the “bathroom of our hearts,” but God doesn’t.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:17, AKJV)
We are His instruments to bring His love and healing to this dying world, not to run from it.
Dear Father, once again I agree with your will in my life and ALL your ways. Thank you for not letting me run any longer especially from my own family. Amen.