Encouragement for Today
“The Dreaded Relationship”
Sharon Glasgow, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)
Life was busy. We owned our own business, had a colicky baby and three lively young children. I wanted to be a part of a group Bible study without the burden of getting to know anyone in the group, so I sat at the back, came in late and left early each week. It worked wonderful until one week the leader passed around a basket and asked everyone to put their name in it for a prayer partner exchange.
I was perturbed that they were forcing me to do something I didn’t want to do. So, I stood my ground and when the basket was passed I simply passed the basket without putting my name in it. After the names were counted, the leader announced that there was a name missing – possibly it had fallen out of the basket – and she asked that everyone look around the floor to see if they could find it.
Reluctantly I raised my hand and announced it was my name that was missing. I explained why it was impossible to have a prayer partner with my lack of time; they giggled and put my name in the basket. The names were passed and, being the last person to get the basket, there was only one name left for me, There before my eyes was the name of a lady everybody disliked. I wasn’t even sure she was a Christian by the way she conducted herself. She was argumentative, confrontational and plain rude.
We met at the end of the study to decide on a day and time for our weekly prayer meetings. The first night came and I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work! From the first moment I walked into her house, she immediately opened fire and started debating with me over politics. She thought it was wrong I had four children. She hated her husband; I loved mine. We were as compatible as two pit bulls locked in a cage and every week became grueling.
I felt trapped. One week I called her to tell her I couldn’t make it. She wouldn’t stand for it; we were going to keep our commitment at all cost! With an attitude, I hopped into my car and bound down the road to tell her this was the end! No more prayer partners – we were opposites and this wasn’t working for me. I walked up to her house, ready to do battle with this militant woman, when all of a sudden she opened the door and I melted. A peace came over me and I strongly felt the presence of the Lord. I humbly walked in and said let’s get on our knees and go before the Lord. The Holy Spirit filled us both and when we opened our eyes we looked at each other very differently. We hugged and cried and felt intoxicated by His Spirit!
We prayed together for five years! She started neighborhood Bible studies, loved her husband, and wasn’t argumentative anymore! God taught me things I would never have known without the time we invested together.
Our agenda isn’t always God’s agenda. His ways and plans are so much higher than ours. The last thing I wanted to do was to be stuck with a negative strong-willed person, but the Lord had greater things in mind than my comfort! He wanted us to grow, to become more like Him. Like sandpaper grinding against wood, gradually the rough places in our personalities were smoothed out.
Are you in a relationship that’s difficult? May I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort and submit yourself to God’s infinite wisdom?
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, help me to love the unlovable. Give me your abilities when I’m faced with hard relationships that seem impossible to me. Open my eyes to each person’s soul condition so that I might love them through You. Thank you for being my strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Daily seek God’s heart through prayer.
Read His Word; it will give you wisdom to do the right thing.
Don’t act or speak hastily on negative impulses.
Is my attitude reflecting Christ?
Who has God used in my life to help strengthen my walk with Him?
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God.” (NKJ)
Romans 12:10-21, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with whose who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (NKJ)
Sandpaper People, by Mary Southerland
Getting Along with Almost Anybody, by
Traveling Together, by Karla Worley
Originally published Monday, 12 September 2005.