“If we look to people to give us the joy only God can give, we will see ourselves as victims.”- Dr. Wayne Stiles
Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”- Jeremiah 17:5
In Chapter 8 (“When Forgiving Someone is Hard”) of Waiting on God, Wayne Stiles emphasizes that all of our memories- good and bad- give us strength in times of struggle. With God’s remarkable strength, we endure good times as well as bad.
Consequently, we identify with Joseph’s story right from the start. However, we also need to see ourselves as Joseph’s brothers. Not only do we need to forgive, but we also need forgiveness. As Dr. Stiles describes, failure and relationships go hand in hand:
“Without a heart of cynicism and with a heavy dose of grace, we need to come to the place where we realize everybody in our lives will fail us to some degree. Everybody. . . . Our spouse, our boss, our friends, and even our pastor- all will fail us. And let me quickly add, we also fail them. But you know the most humbling reality? We fail ourselves.”
Looking to other people as our foundation creates instability. Our unspoken attitude becomes Who will make me feel good today? (emphasis author’s) Such unhealthy dependency makes us slaves to our circumstances- truly a recipe for disaster.
As a result, disappointment with people should draw us closer to the Lord. The Lord never disappoints. Then joy only God can give frees us to love people rather than need them.
Today’s question: What Scriptures enable you to bear witness to the joy only God can give? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Enthusiasm and grace”