Tuesday, September 8, 2009

OnFire #197 When Any Idea Seems Right

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #197 When Any Idea Seems Right

Hi Folks:
School is back in. Mark went to school Tuesday, and as I write Ian and Taka are getting ready to go back.

We’re finishing some yard and outdoor work. I painted our front door overhang and touched up some areas on our carport. In a few weeks we hope to re-shingle our roof with the help of some men from the church.

I forgot to mention last week that my mother and Ivan brought my grandmother for a visit from PEI. At 91, she is not always able to travel, but she has been feeling well and made the trip. We had a wonderful time together.

Finally, I tried fly fishing for the first time last week. I went salmon fishing with a man from our church on several branches of the world-famous Miramichi River. We only caught a few chub, but we had a great time. Talk about beautiful spots. Not much wonder people love salmon fishing so much. The scenery alone is worth it, and to catch one of those incredible fish would be a real thrill.

Blessings for your week.

The next conflict we see in scripture happens between Sarai, Abram’s wife, and her maid, Hagar, in Genesis 16.

The story is a little bizarre, really, not something we think might be included in scripture, but that’s one of the things I like about reading the Bible. Bizarre stuff happens in real life, and scripture reflects real life problems and solutions.

Abram and Sarai (who will later become Abraham and Sarah) were getting along in years but could not have children. Earlier God promised children to Abraham, but in Genesis 16 we see that they were getting tired of waiting. Sarai, trying to be helpful I’m sure, suggested that Abram have a child with Hagar. This would preserve his lineage, if not hers. That’s when the trouble began. After Hagar became pregnant, jealousy and anger erupted between the two women. Soon Hagar left because Sarai treated her so poorly.

To me this seems right up there in the "what were they thinking?" category. How could they not see trouble coming? It reminds me of the pictures we find on the internet of people doing things like running power cords through swimming pools or using one forklift to lift another forklift. (I have an album on my Facebook profile called, When You Just Can’t Reach - check it out for some funny pictures)

We’re funny like that, however. If we don’t have the right tool in the box, we’ll use something else even if it doesn’t really fit, just because we don’t want to wait to get the right one. If we run out of something, we’ll substitute another, again, because we don’t want to wait.

As children we wanted to glue strips of paper together, but had no glue. So, we mixed up some flour and water and tried to make glue. We thought we were being clever, but in truth we just made a big mess all over the kitchen which our mother insisted we clean up that night. She wasn’t very happy about it, I recall, and our paste didn’t work, either.

I laugh as I look back on that, but in regular life the consequences are not so funny. In the case of Sarai and Hagar, conflict erupted because Abram and Sarai got tired of waiting. In the absence of what God had promised, they settled for something else.

When we’re desperate and impatient it seems to us that any idea is better than no idea. Never mind that it may compromise what we believe. Never mind that it may cause more problems later. Never mind that it may cost us more in the long term. We want to do something NOW because we’re tired of waiting.

We know patience and wisdom help in relationships but they also keep us from doing something just for the sake of doing something. This is a good thing because, sooner or later, sin and compromise lead to damaged relationships and conflict. When we settle for some idea just because it is the only idea at the moment, how can we not expect trouble?

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Sept 9, 2009. To subscribe or reply, email onfireletter@gmail.com. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com Blog located at http://onfireletter.blogspot.com/

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