God partners with us

What about my impulsive decisions that turned out to be disasters

God often allows us to live with the consequences of our own decisions.

Not everything that goes wrong is somebody else’s fault. Life is about struggle.  Some of you are going to be like me, sitting and waiting for the good to show up. We fail to realize that the bad will often take us to places where we discover good. 

Those of you who are old enough know that life’s struggles have left an investment in your life that has made you wiser and more complete. Yet we turn around and try to protect our children from all pain. The very thing that gave us character and strength is the thing we try to protect our children from. 

The reality is, we can be a rebellious people. And God allows us to live in that mess for awhile until we are desperate enough to surrender to him. 

I’ve made financial decisions that were crippling.

I’ve said some absolutely stupid things in my life. I remember in the early ’80’s when Canada was going through an election year, there was a lot of emotional sentiment; not quite as bad as what we are seeing to the south, but it had it’s parallels. I was a young pastor in a small prairie town. My brother was visiting me and we were in the middle of a Monopoly game when the phone rang. It was a reporter from the provincial newspaper doing a random survey of what people thought about the upcoming election. I hate telemarketing; phone surveys ~ I was a little annoyed and I was in the middle of a Monopoly game. Everyone knows you shouldn’t interrupt people who playing Monopoly. ~ so my off the cuff remark was, “Anyone who voted for that particular political party would be a hypocritical jerk.” Well when that showed up on the front page of the Provincial paper; “Baptist pastor says…” Well - that’s when the hate mail started; and the phone calls. I remember one letter on a piece of paper that was about 12” square. It began with the words, “You are a…” and in fine print, it filled that entire page with words I’ve never repeated. I even learned some news ones. It was a shame-filled season in my life because of a lack of common sense. 

Did it work out for good? A lot of that depended upon me. 

God partners with us to maneuver circumstances and our perspective of them into a healthy place that benefits us. 

I was humbled; crushed actually. I emerged wiser. Did God do it? ~ I cried out to him. I began to listen to his counsel. There was no condemnation coming from our conversations. My spirit became lot more teachable. My heart was comforted by the love I received from him. I watched my congregation absorb my shame and love me all the same. I experienced grace when I knew I had be careless. 

“In all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who have been called according to his purpose.”

I’m a better person today because of God’s partnership with me in a time of personal stupidity. In every circumstance we have options. It can feel overwhelming. 

At times I have said to God, “Are you serious!” One thing after another.

During the preparation of this talk I have had so many things go sideways it was almost comical considering our topic today. But because of this talk, I found myself beginning to actually look for the good. 

I am so thankful I stayed in that little church. I learned so much and we were loved-on constantly. It built character, and showed me many of my limitations. I was discipled there by the people and we were also used by God to see many blessed and mature. It was a wonderful season. 

Nancy and I are both missionary kids and have also been missionaries. We’ve grew up often separated from our parents, and we’ve made decisions that separated us from our own kids.

We’ve watched our kids walk through the same questions we did and they didn’t always come up with the same conclusions.

One is bitter and angry with us and God because they feel they were second in our lives. I’ve thought about that a lot. What if it was true? What if they were second a lot of the time? Is it healthy to walk through life with a bitter edge, believing you have been unfairly treated? Does that mean that God didn’t step to the plate and make that time good?

It’s not uncommon for each of us to want to justify a bad attitude. If I can blame my attitude on you, then it gives me permission to continue to live in an ugly mood. “It’s not my fault. It’s your fault.” And before long, it also becomes God’s fault. “He was supposed to make this good in my life and he hasn’t. It still sucks.” 

I am always responsible for my own attitude.

No one forces me to resent you. No one forces me to demand vindication? Many times you and I contribute to the messes we find ourselves in.

“In all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who have been called according to his purpose.”

David Collins

David Collins is our interim lead pastor! He is the founder of Canadian Food for the Hungry International, the Global Hunger Foundation, and Paradigm Ministries. He's been a pastor, CEO, consultant and mentor. He and his wife have worked abroad to seek sustainable solutions in the midst of human cruelty and natural disasters. Author of two books, David continues to help people understand the power of ideas and how someone's motives correspond to Biblical integrity.