Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 NIV
I remember in the early years of our marriage, the many times that I would try to control Scott. One instance that pops up quickly for me is the purchase of our first minivan. We were eighteen when we married and I already had my son Matthew. Within a month of marriage, we found out we were pregnant! We had no idea that it would be a twin pregnancy! By nineteen, we had three children under three. This is when I became infatuated with the idea of a minivan. I had to have one and I pushed and pushed until I got one. Against Scott’s better judgement, and his many protests, I “won” and we traded in our newer four door sedan, for the minivan of my dreams.
This isn’t something just isolated to me as a nineteen year old, mom of three. I think back to the story of Abraham and Sarah. Both were promised a child, Isaac. Sarah, who believed God had withheld children from her, found herself pushing and pushing Abraham to make it happen. She even made peace, so she thought, with the idea of her husband sleeping with someone else to make her a child. Genesis 16:2 even says: And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And he did. And he made a child, with another woman. A child named Ishmael. This broke Sarah, as you might expect. God still came through with His promise, in His timing, and Isaac was born to Sarah. The pain and undue trials Sarah went through, were the result of Sarah, pushing her husband to do things in her timing, not God’s.
I did the same thing. Though I didn’t convince Scott to sleep with another woman, I had convinced him that my timing was better than seeking on and waiting on God’s timing. I had the same root problem as Sarah. I didn’t trust God to take care of my needs and to provide what He said He would. Going back to the scripture for today, the condition of my heart, was evident in the overflow of my actions. I didn’t even seek God in the first place to see if we should get a different car. Sarah, didn’t seek God about if she should suggest Abraham sleep with Hagar. Her heart, my heart, knew what it wanted, and that was all that mattered.
Shortly after buying the van, on Christmas Day, our transmission died. With three small children in tow, we pulled over on the side of Hwy 35, and had to wait for help to rescue us. We couldn’t afford the multi-thousand dollar repair, and make the monthly car payments, so, within a short while of getting our van back, it was repossessed. And we had no vehicle at all, with three children and two jobs.
Over the years, Scott and I learned many lessons about seeking God first, not always learning before the screw ups, but rather, usually after the fact. A few years back, we did a Bible study on Abraham and Sarah. We took a deep look at God’s promise to them, and how it required faith beyond reason. We have since learned to pray, asking God for an Isaac kind of promise. This is the kind of promise, that God gives, and we wait on for His timing. We refuse to accept Ishmael kind of promises. These are the kind we create, for our own selves, in our own timing, much like Sarah created Ismael, in her own timing, not waiting for the promised fulfilled, Isaac.
The condition of our hearts, is seen in the overflow of our actions. When we control others, our spouses, our children, our friends, we are overflowing in mistrust. When we gossip about others, slandering their actions, we overflow with self criticism, hoping no one will notice our own shortcomings. When we love freely and live sent, as our church Pastor Brad has been casting vision, we overflow with hope, confident in who God calls us to be.