Friday, July 27, 2007

So, like, you all know by now how I can go all Pollyanna on you at any moment on any day of the week.

But this is not one of those times. If you needed a light-hearted-la-dee-da post today, well, you'd better click to the next blog because actually I'm going to speak against a Pollyanna-ish sermon which is preached from many pulpits. The one which says, "It's impossible to mess-up God's plan for your life. If you disobey Him, He'll just put a band-aid on your boo-boo, ignore your whole 'mistake' and let you proceed without any discipline or reaping from what you've sown or feeling pain from your regrets or seeing any real harm happening."

Disobedience, to me anyway, comes with a much higher price tag than that.

I'm going to list just a few examples of the high price of 'missing God', true examples which have happened to me, people I have known, or people I have read about. You can decide for yourself if it's possible--as Christians--to mess-up God's plans for not only your own life, but the life of others:

You can become a foreign missionary when God planned for you to stay home. You can stay home when God planned for you to become a foreign missionary.

You can eat yourself into an early grave, dying way, way before God planned for you to die, missing hundreds of opportunities to share Him with others. You can also drink yourself into an early grave or take enough drugs to get you there.

You can be like the Israelites and spend forty years making an eleven day trip and like Moses who disobeyed God and died without entering into the promised land.

You can arrive at your retirement years not having saved-up money for them and then find yourself having to work hard at an elderly age and just trying to survive.

You can ignore the voice which told you to send a Christmas card with the plan of salvation to your elderly neighbor who most likely did not know Jesus and then, years later, watch his 90-year-old body being carried out of his house.

You can wait too long to become physically active. You can wait too long to learn to roller skate, become a gymnast, play sports, at least not without great risk.

You can take lousy care of yourself, remain ignorant of what stress and poor diet and alcohol consumption and drugs will do to your body and then live in chronic pain, thus being unable to live a healthy, vibrant, peace-that-passes-understanding kind of example life.

You can hear that an elderly woman in your church would like you to visit her on her deathbed, wait too long out of the shyness of visiting the home where she's staying, and then hear she has passed away.

You can not control your emotions and find yourself having an affair and then destroy your marriage and deeply wound your children. You can, while married, treat your spouse like dirt and irreparably hurt him/her and your children, as well.

You can wait too long to express appreciation for a grandparent, a parent, a pastor, an author or anyone who's impacted your life wonderfully-- and they can die before you've said a word. And you can have to live with that regret.

You can be obnoxious and critical at your 'God Blog' and cause people to race away from God, rather than toward Him.

You can ignore the voice which is telling you to prepare for a different occupation, then in a few years, be fired/released from your job and have an incredibly hard time finding another one (and experience financial disaster and ruin because you did not save money ahead of time, either).

Sigh. And this was the 'less-dramatic side' of other examples I'd intended to post.

Am I saying we should go around feeling guilty or afraid? Of course, not. I've written tons of posts saying just the opposite. Here's one as an example.

No, I'm just saying that disobedience to God--the ignoring of that still, small voice--can come with a huge, huge price tag. There is a reverential fear and awe of God which I believe too much of the church has lost, something which has been replaced by a type of kay sera sera attitude. "Whatever will be, will be."

Uh, no.

You won't find me singing that song here or in my real life, either. I've lived too long, experienced too much and watched too many shattered lives to even hum those words.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." ... Hosea 4:6


Patty said...

really great post

elizabeth said...

Amein to this! You are so right...and so many of us are now at the age to indeed see some of this. It is a wonder we have not been incinerated already. If Moses could miss the Promised Land based on one act...that is sobering indeed. Good that needs to be written even if hard to do.

Kathy said...

Debra, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said...Amen to it all!! Thanks for another good post.....Blessings to you......

Laura said...

This was really well said.

~Jennifer said...

Oooh, I feel like that post was directed at me after my comment in your last post, and I want to clarify. I do believe we can mess up and reap horrible consequences of stepping outside of God's will. My post was meant to say that God IS in control, and he can redeem a life that has been messed up by sin. That is still a comfort to me. I can not mess up his ultimate plan, and no matter what a mess I make he can clean it up.

That doesn't mean I think I can't mess up my life or end it prematurely because of bad decisions, but if I wallow in grief because of past disobedience, then I am not accepting his forgiveness and redemption. He is in control, and he can take the worst situation and make it work out for the best. How could I worship a God who couldn't or wouldn't?

~Jennifer said...

Ah, I read a post from someone today who explains my position so much more eloquently than I. I hope you're not annoyed that I am still thinking quite a great deal about this post of yours, Debra. :-)

Debra said...

Thanks, Everyone...
Jennifer--I'm not annoyed at I read the article you gave (thanks), but I still find it naive. If I've eaten/drank/drugged myself into an early grave, how can God come along and fix that? How can I finish out God's plan then? If I disobeyed God and did not witness to my neighbor--and he dies without knowing God--how does God fix that? If I make myself so sick that I spend my life in constant pain, how can I fulfill God's plan for my life when it meant travel and reaching certain people?

Again, the older I get, the more I see the awesome, scary responsibility we have to obey God... He is merciful, yes, but He also sticks to His Word and allows us to reap what we have sown. If we are sowing death and sickness and risky behavior then we will reap death and sickness and the dangers of risky behavior--and end up where He never, ever meant us to be...

It is very possible, I believe, to live a whole other life than the one God planned for us to live--and then die, never knowing that plan... never touching the people we were meant to touch... never letting God make us into the kind, compassionate people who would draw people to Him, rather than repulse them. I have seen that happen over and over and over. It is possible to be a Christian tragedy-in-the-making. I've known quite a few personally.


~Jennifer said...

"If I've eaten/drank/drugged myself into an early grave, how can God come along and fix that? "

This example is different than the one missed opportunity you mentioned before that prompted my first comment. The example above involves a lifetime of turning away from God's will, not just missing the prompting of the Holy Spirit one time. That said, I do not disagree that tragedy can strike because of one simple act of disobedience. I've experienced too many near misses myself to not acknowledge that is true.

Still the truth is we are all going to step outside of God's will at times because none of us is perfect.

I guess I'll just say that I don't disagree with you. At the same time I can't entirely embrace the idea that an act of disobedience can completely thwart God's plan for my life.