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Monday, November 2, 2009

Breaking our ties from this world

I am currently reading another book, "Beloved Bride- The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife." Although the title may seem as if it has romantic connotations, I have found that in reading the letters, their conversation is always God-centered. One of the letters that struck me as very insightful, powerful, and discerning. Mrs. Jackson was writing to her husband concerning the sad tidings that had befallen her sister and her brother-in-law.  Mrs. Jackson was quite frank about her feelings and wrote

            I was not surprised that little MC was taken away, as I have long regarded his father's attachment
            to him as too strong; that is, so strong that he would be unwilling to give him up, though God should
            call for his own. I do not believe that an attachment ever is, or can be, absolutely too strong for any             object of our affections; but our love to God may not be strong enough. We may not love Him               so intensely as  to have no will but His. . . .

 Her letter on this subject made me really think. Could she be right? Perhaps her nephew was taken away, because God saw that an attachment was so great as to hinder Him from getting the glory. To think that someone would have an attachment to something so great on earth that they would even try to stop God from severing those ties! I thought about the one attachment that I have had for quite sometime, in which I had already made up my mind that I would act upon my will even if it were to go against God's will. For shame! How could I even do that!? Well, I had, just as Mrs.Jackson's brother-in-law had done. Not only did my actions show a lack of love for God, but an unwillingness to realize that God's will is always best no matter what. I know His will is best, but my stubborn-headed ways believe that my will will be even better.

What was my attachment? My attachment was my dream of going to grad school. I had already made up my mind that I was going to do it even if God said no, because I just couldn't bear to give up something I had been dreaming about for quite some time. When I read that letter though, I realized that in order to break our hard hearts and to mold us into His image, we have to be reproved for our own good and removed of our stubborn hearts. God loves us so much that He doesn't want us to go astray, so He reproves us so that we will go back to Him. How great a Father's love that He would seek us out when in sin! Did I really want the consequences of sin over God's will, which I undoubtedly know would be even better than going to grad school? I had come to realize that God's will had always been greater than my plans, when my plans were overruled. If that was the case, then I realized I'd rather be obedient to God rather than suffer heartache like Mrs.Jackson's sister and brother-in-law. That's when I decided that no, I wouldn't go to grad school, as I had felt God telling me no for quite a while, yet I still prayed about it, go figure. I realized that praying for God to change His mind wasn't appropriate either. God had said no for the time being; I needed to accept it, and when I felt I could pray about it again, then I would ask to see if God had changed His mind. As of now I have no plans to go to grad school, due to God's calling in my life which doesn't involve grad school at this moment. If He decides that it will be included in my life later on, then hooray for me; if not, I will bear it, knowing that He sees what's best for me. Do you have any ties you need to sever as well?


  1. Tried writing a block quote, obviously it didn't work.

  2. I think that it is interesting that you are so sure that something is really Gods will. Personally, I have so much trouble with that... like how do I know it's really God talking or am I saying what i want/don't want to hear on purpose. I'm not even sure if what I'm doing is Gods plan for my life.. I mean i pray everyday that He will help and guide me to the right path, but how do you know if it's really God talking to you?
    -Joni C.

  3. Good question! This is a good point,and a few steps are necessary to consider besides prayer into knowing God's will.

    First of all, I'd like to clarify how I know that God doesn't want me to make going to grad. school part of my plans. For starters, I have felt tremendous guilt,and remorse for ignoring something I feel the Lord wants me to be doing right now. Having guilt is one of the ways that you can know you're probably not doing something according to God's will. And the guilt came out of not having enough time to do what He wanted me to do. I knew that I wanted to still do what I wanted to- go to grad. school. I know that going to grad school is my will, because I'm pursuing a lifestyle I know is in direct disobedience in God's plan for my life because I had felt God wanting me to do something else (hence the guilt for not doing it). Going to grad. school is not wrong in and of itself; it's wrong for me, because God has told me no for right now until I do what he wants me to do.

    Another indicator is through circumstances. In my case, I was living in direct disobedience to God, which created obstacles in my life. I suddenly felt that problems were being created due to my resistance, so that in the end God would have His way. The obstacles were pretty much impassable. Sometimes obstacles can be a sign that a person is in the wrong.

    Another indicator can be your parents' opinion. For instance, one of my parents was sure that it wouldn't be right for me to go to grad. school right now. They were pretty skeptical about it, so, naturally, I went to the other parent because I knew that they would be accepting of my plan. Of course that happened. One said yes, the other said no, what to do? Well, I knew in my heart that the one who said yes was right because they had the exact same thoughts as I did about the reasons why going to grad. school wouldn't be a good idea- like I'd be disobeying God. I had gone to other parent though, because I knew I would be receiving approval which would satisfy my selfish desires and quell a guilty conscience. (The other parent who thought it'd be great if I went to grad. school wasn't telling me to go against God, in fact they had no idea I was struggling with a problem of obedience. They considered the long term benefits of being well-taken care of in life.) So if you're unsure about God's will, a good thing to do is go to a wise and Godly person or your parent and seek their advice, although sometimes that can be misleading as well.

    Ultimately if your plans go against the Bible in any way, you are def. out of God's will. That is the best way to see if your plans match up with God's- seeking the Bible out for what it says. Of course prayer is wonderful too, to help guide you to the right response. In this case, the final straw was when I prayed the night before I went to church on Sunday that God would show me His will about this decision (clarify it for me) during the message at church. The next day I went in, and it was as if God were speaking to me directly! Everything the pastor said had to do with my resistance to God's will in my life. I knew after the service what the right thing was, because God used the message to speak to me.

    Sometimes it can be hard in determining God's will though, because sometimes the criteria above don't work. And sometimes you just know because God sends the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you through the Bible, a message, circumstances, or even friends and family members. I hope some of this helped; it's so long, but there really aren't any specific steps to knowing God's will, just suggestions on how to determine God's will.

    Anybody else- feel free to give your comments!