I don’t know how my parents did it. For that matter, I don’t know how my GRANDparents did it. They managed to meander through life without all of the supposed knowledge we have now. They married, stayed married, raised children, and all without going to seminars or conferences. I’d even venture to say they probably didn’t have the ‘benefit’ of books on marriage and childrearing. How DID they do it?
Consider this, we have books on everything from birth to death…..Ten Easy Steps to…… and the problem is supposed to be solved. Soon it almost becomes Dr. Seussish…..’which one was what one or what one was which one, or the other way ’round’. (The Sneetches, for those of you who are not Dr. Seuss aficionados). We’ve become so wrapped up in advice and more and more counsel, we become confused as to which so-called expert we are to read or listen to.
No subject is spared. Education- there are a ton of opinions on all types of programs and when best to apply them. Nutrition- what is the best way to eat and at what time. Exercise- Yoga is best, no weight training, no……And the Christian realm is not spared either. I find myself weary of preachers on the radio who all sound the same with their radio voices, encouraging me to conquer problems in Ten easy steps…… God never promised ten easy steps or even three or four. When I look at Joseph, I don’t see a simple plan; if you do this, that will happen. It’s not really supposed to be that way. You see, the Christian walk is a walk of faith. I don’t know what may be around the corner, but I know I can trust God to care for me as I approach and when I get there.
Do we wonder why so many give up? Why so many are disillusioned? Maybe it’s because they were taught that there was a formula….you do steps A, B, C, and E, F, G will follow. But what happens when instead of E, F, G, you get Q, W, and Y? What then? Did God let me down? Does he even know what’s going on?
I guess what I’m trying to say is this, maybe we need to stop defining what God is going to do or, in our opinion, HAS to do. We box him up and make him the God we want him to be rather than the God he is. It’s not our place to say, ‘Okay, God, I did this, now you do what I’m expecting of you.’
I think of Joseph in the pit, sold as a slave, unjustly accused, in prison, and then I think of his words to his brothers…..and haven’t each of you who know the story enjoyed thinking about how the brothers must have sweated when they realized who Joseph was? How many of us would have taken advantage of the situation to repay them in kind? Yet, Joseph forgives and says the famous statement—You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. And that’s it.
Hard steps, not Ten Easy Steps. Not some fluffy foolishness designed to tickle the ears and soothe the simple. Sad to say, in this day and age when we have become seminar silly and our minds are conference clouded, we’ve kind of lost our way. Humans have always wanted an easy way. That’s nothing new. It’s just that with the luxury of information we are blessed with, we’ve also been cursed.
So what do we do? Throw the baby out with the bathwater and stop reading, stop learning, stop attending? No, but maybe we need to calm down and learn to think for ourselves a bit and get to know God as he is, rather than making him what we want him to be or even what some well-known speaker says he is. Generally speaking, life isn’t going to go the way you planned, and that’s alright. Don’t worry about the Ten Easy Steps, just work on taking one step at a time.