Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This principle applies not only to motion, but to how many of us respond when people or events cause us problems. We immediately push back. At the very least, we attempt to fix the situation in the quickest, most direct way possible. I am by nature that kind of person. I want to get to the point and fix things without wasting time dancing all over and around the issue.
There is a time and a place for direct action and speech, but I’ve noticed that the shortest route is quite often not God’s way. I am learning that most of the time I get better results by asking the Lord to give me His counsel on how to handle something, and then waiting until I hear back from Him about it. This is true in finding out how to pray into complex circumstances, but it is even more needful when dealing with people. I might have God’s overall mind on a matter, but not His specifics on how to take care of it. If I wait for His inspiration, He will show me a way I would never have thought of to achieve the desired end or to resolve an issue. Here is an example:
A prayer group my husband and I were leading ran into some problems with a person who was praying negatively. She had a genuine concern, but due to heaviness of heart and frustration, her prayers were coming across as curses, rather than blessings, toward those she was praying for. Usually when something like this happens, we just try to steer prayer into a better direction without addressing the issue at all. Sometimes people simply get a little off here and there temporarily. But this was becoming an ongoing problem over a number of weeks, and we felt it was time to talk with the person about it.
I was thinking in terms of having to bring correction — not a pleasant thing to do! I didn’t want to hurt the lady’s feelings, and I didn’t want to drive her away from coming to the group. But it wasn’t healthy to let it go on any longer. I pleaded with the Lord, “Can’t You just speak to her about it? I don’t want to do this! Please, just make the problem go away!”
After several days of sweating it out in prayer, the Lord finally shared with me an approach which did not involve direct correction, and would actually be encouraging to the lady instead. He gave me an unusual, specific angle on how to pray into the very matter which was so frustrating to her.
I called her, shared with her that I had been praying about her concern and that I felt God had given me some light on how we could intercede differently and get the answers she desired. We had a powerful time of prayer together and then talked at length about the deeper purposes of God, with both of us being blessed by each other. Instead of causing hurt or anger, our conversation ended up bringing hope and bonding us closer together. I could never have thought up such an approach by myself, but the Lord knew all along exactly how to take care of it.
Sometimes, as I have sought God for how to tackle a problem, I have discovered that I really did not have God’s mind on the matter at all, although I started out feeling certain that I did.
Someone close to us was about to make a major decision which I did not feel was wise. It also had the potential to adversely affect our immediate family. I prayed about it for several days, laying my concerns before the Lord and asking Him to help the person see that she was making a mistake.
To my surprise, He showed me that what I thought was an unwise decision was really His leading. The circumstances which seemed to my practical mind to be obvious signs that our loved one was making a mistake were indeed obstacles standing in the way, but not indicators that she was stepping out of His will. The hindrances simply needed His solutions. He then gave me some ideas about how they could be removed.
Had I spoken my mind before getting God’s vantage point, there would have been hurt and frustration between us. But by the time we chatted, we were able to discuss what could be done to make her dreams come true. We shared a happy conversation from a place of agreement.
These examples are meant to show that if we learn to wait on the Lord before tackling problems, He will give us a higher perspective than we could ever imagine. He can help us to receive better solutions than we could achieve with our own thinking skills. We have to be willing to calm down and listen, but the results are rewarding. It’s even fun to see what He comes up with!