I have a close friend that is going through a difficult time. I've offered advice. I've prayed for this person. I've suggested many different approaches. But all of that seems in vain. Just yesterday, I had an intense spiritual discussion with this friend. So intense that my daughters said to me "Sounds like you are praying, mama." And I replied, "because i was." This friend seems to believe that everything that is happening to them is because of someone else. That SOMEONE is doing this to them. And last night I couldn't sugar coat it any more. No one is doing anything to this person. This person is doing it all to themselves. What does that mean exactly? It means that my friend is being disobedient to what God wants them to do therefore they are feeling lost, isolated, and attacked. (Now, I know what you are saying. I know that people who are obedient have bad things happen to them too, but this isn't that situation. Trust me.)
Let me put it plainly. My friend was involved in "wordly" activities for a couple of years. No need for specfics, just know that they were "wordly." But then my friend appeared to get it on track. This friend was beginning to take spiritual steps to correct his previous misteps. Then this friend got comfortable. This friend quit talking to God. This friend let Sunday's pass w/o stepping into church. Basically, this friend strayed off the path. And now this friend is being assaulted. GREATLY assaulted by the enemy. So the friend is lamenting "Why me?" and "The mean people are picking on me." And I am looking at this friend thinking "really? You really don't see your part in all of this. You really don't see that the folks that are picking on you are being used by the enemy to throw you off track. You don't see that God removed the hedge from around you and is forcing you to repeat this season because of your disobedience? You don't see that YOU are to blame for all that is happening to you. Really?"
So early this morning I realized that my words are not needed anymore. I have talked this friend's ear off. I have preached. I have sugarcoated. I have made it plain. I have done it all for this friend, but they still don't see it. So God spoke to me. God told me to shut my mouth. I have said what I have been instructed to say to them. The spiritual seeds that I have sprinkled into their life are in there. Just because I am not seeing them sprout immediately doesn't mean that the seeds weren't planted. I have to be faithful and allow God to water the seeds.
But then God turned the table on me. As much as I have been talking about God, have I been obedient? Have I been taking time for God? Have I made being in His prescence part of my daily routine? Ummmmm.. let me be honest... no, i haven't. I haven't been obedient either. So this frustrating season of dealing with this friend, may actually be for my benefit instead of theirs. Maybe I was the one who needed to learn the lesson and maybe my disobedience is not only frustrating me but also causing my friend to be stuck. Maybe if I did my part on the obedience front, we can be delivered together. Maybe that is where the testimony lies.