I am refreshed at the thought that God reveals to us His design for relationships in the most creative ways. Today as I looked out the window I saw two birds sitting on a wire. As the first bird “Harriet” inserted herself closer to the second bird “Jay,” he reticently moved a little further away. Then Harriet, undeterred, moved a little closer again, and Jay looked briefly at her and then both birds looked at the eastern sky. Suddenly another bird “Joanna” energetically swooped in from behind and Harriet suddenly took flight as Joanna took her place next to Jay on the wire.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you” Job 12:7-8.
I am thankful that Father God has many unique modes of communication. I do not pretend to understand all of this, but as I was thinking about relationship dynamics this morning, all I did was look out the window to see this “bird story” unfolding. What I thought about as I witnessed God’s creatures is that sometimes we attempt to insert ourselves in relationships and maybe it is not God’s timing. Sometimes others will respond as Jay did, and move away from us, and if we insist on being with him or her, he or she may acquiesce, but this is not how we build the foundation for a healthy relationship. And then inevitably, when that trusted relationship appears, the one who inserted themselves can be left out; feeling even more alone than before all of this began.
I am blessed as I think of Abigail, who successfully inserted herself between her husband and King David. Abigail used great wisdom and diplomacy as she interceded before the King. Had it not been for Abigail making amends for her husband’s actions, David could have annihilated them in his anger. So what about the “Harriet’s” in our world? We serve a God who understands our relational foibles and comforts us with His instruction. However, a question comes to mind: Are we building our relationships on the shifting sand of emotions? If so, His instruction to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5) is an excellent place to begin. Then I have to ask, what is the motivation behind inserting oneself into someone else’s life? If the motive seems good then why would one force the issue? In Abigail’s case, lives were saved, so what’s the case with Harriet, what was her need or desire as she inserted herself in Jay’s space? Perhaps Harriet was lonely and just needed to be near someone, or she was new to the area and was hoping to make a new friend, but just did not know how to go about doing so.
Thankfully we serve a God who not only understands our needs, but He will help us realize when we move outside of His timing, or even His will. This paraphrased thought from Ann Spangler (2004) Praying the Names of God is fitting; the presence of God through the Holy Spirit brings peace, peace with others, and oneself. God is true shalom, which is prosperity, harmony, safety, health, and fulfillment. Being in God’s shalom means that we are not moved by circumstance. So we can take a deep breath and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, search His Word for direction. So maybe the next time Harriet is tempted to do something in her own strength, she can let her tension melt away as she seeks His way, and not her own. Then she can bask in the refreshing that comes from His Word which is a complete joy with great promise: “Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding . . . Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” – Proverbs 3:13, 17. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” – Isaiah 26:3.