Thursday, January 26, 2017

God's Will and God's Heart

January 26, 2017

A long superhighway drive can be a good thing. I have to stay alert, but don't really have to concentrate much on the driving itself. The traffic between home and Buffalo and between Buffalo and Rochester isn't particularly taxing, so it is a good time to pray. Often when I'm home, if I'm not walking around, my prayer time can easily slide into my snooze time. That necessary attentiveness while driving is just what the doctor ordered for my prayers.

Usually during my bi-weekly drives to visit my mother, the radio is off and I just pray. Occasionally, I'll have the classical station on. Rarely, it's Christian radio. I don't like to be critical, but I can only take the music on Christian radio in small doses. Much of the preaching affects me the same way, but there are a few radio preachers who really dig into the Scriptures and make me think. Yesterday, one of them was preaching about Abraham and Sarah, and their misguided attempt to help God with his promise to give them a son. Sarah gave her husband her Egyptian servant Hagar, who conceived and bore Ishmael. It was a mistake that has reverberated through history, as the Arab peoples trace their lineage back to Abraham just as do the Jewish people, except they trace their heritage through Ishmael instead of Isaac.

The preacher's observation was that some of the most dangerous people in the world are well-meaning Christians who are trying to do God's will. Whenever we work for God instead of letting him work through us, we place ourselves in the same position as did Abraham and Sarah. It seemed reasonable, but it was a historical disaster. The preacher's comment on the whole matter was, "don't separate your obedience to God from your dependence on God." When we try to obey God without depending on God, we end up like the Pharisees: devout, well-intentioned dragons who stood in the way of the work God was doing through his Son.

I am grateful for yesterday's drive time that gave me the opportunity to prayerfully listen to some good Bible teaching, and for the time today to reflect upon it and seek not just God's will, but also his heart.

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