Wednesday, November 25, 2015

When Good Intentions Fail



The pro-life nurse called me in the morning yesterday with a mission. A young, pregnant woman who only spoke Spanish had almost aborted, but instead chose life. They needed a driver to get her to the Pregnancy center in Monroe. She had connected with a counselor there, and was in need of a lot of  crisis intervention. Her situation was very hard.

My job was to pick her up at an apartment in Charlotte, drive her to the appointment 40 minutes away, wait during her session, and return her to her place afterwards. It was urgent, or they would not have asked me.

I showered in two minutes, plugged the addresses into my GPS, and shot out of the house.

An hour later, after circling like a buzzard for forty minutes, I still had not found her apartment. I could not call her as I didn't speak Spanish and she spoke no English. I have Google Translate on my phone, but was using my phone for the GPS. The Spanish speaking nurse tried to get me better directions from the young woman, but finally, we had to give up. The young lady just didn't know the area well enough to direct me to her, and the address was not correct. Finally, the nurse decided they would reschedule for next week, and try to find this woman's home that even their computer was unable to locate.

Two hours later, I returned home, having accomplished nothing other than burning a few gallons of gas. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Like everyone this week, I had a ton of stuff to do in preparation for Thanksgiving, and I have three books I am editing right now.

But the baby's life was more important.

So why had my great intentions been foiled?

This is not the first time my good intentions have gone awry. To say I had the perfect attitude facing this inconvenience is just a tad shy of the truth....like by about 40 miles.....

I am not thrilled with this tendency lately for good to be rewarded with loss. It seems to me if our motivations are good, results should be good. I have to cover my mouth with both hands to keep from shouting, "Why, God?"?

God rarely answers why. I know that. So why do I have to squelch the need to know WHY?

Another question He rarely answers: HOW LONG?

Sometimes, we are required to struggle in the fog of incomprehension for a very long time. God could remove the situation, and the fog. He could answer our anguished questions. If He doesn't, there has to be a purpose in it. Either there is something we are to learn, or our trust in following Him needs bolstering, or our character needs refining, or our faith needs testing.

And there probably are other reasons. The more I know of God, the less I anticipate what He will do. He cannot be put in a box. He is one incomprehensible surprise after another.

As I drove in circles, several people stopped to try to help me. They looked at the address I had been given, plugged it into their smart phones, and came up as empty as I had. I was warmed by the consideration of strangers, but it didn't help my errand of mercy. I cannot see any positive result of not being able to fulfill such a seemingly simple task.

But God is not unaware. I really had no choice but to leave it in His hands. If I didn't, I would still be circling downtown Charlotte till my tank was empty.

I don't think the message is that we should ignore His promptings to follow our good intentions. That would go against a whole bevvy of Scriptures. I think perhaps He is driving home the message that we are to obey Him, but the results are not in our hands. The results are His province, not mine. Do good with no expectation of where it will lead. If I trust God, I must trust He called me to action for a reason. That must suffice in and of itself.

1 John 3:18 

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ...

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Of David. Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. ...

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