Leave Room for God

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I kept hearing “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”, especially when someone did something that seemed like a sin or evil and it affected me where I wanted to see them pay somehow or be judged or corrected.

Wondering where that was in was in the Bible, I asked Father Bob, and he pointed me to Romans 12.  Now I remember first hearing that phrase and thinking, okay, if I can’t enact my own punishment, my own judgement, then fine, I will settle for God to eventually do something at some point in eternity, perhaps when they die and he judges them?

So I prayed about this and mulled over the verse for weeks as I kept hearing it in my spirit and prayer time.  Then I was moved last week to actually read the rest of the chapter.

Romans 12

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine , I will repay ,” says the Lord.20 “But if your enemy is hungry , feed him , and if he is thirsty , give him a drink ; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head .”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Notice what it says?  By leaving room for God, and not enacting my own wrath, but instead sent blessings to them, and heaped goodness on them, I have actually reaped many benefits;

I have obeyed God’s Word and that makes Him pleased with me and shows I delight in Him

I have demonstrated Holiness and haven’t taken on a role that belongs to God

I have been assured that God will heap burning coals on their head!!  Burning coals on their head!!  Do you know what that means?

From John and Paula Sanford of Elijah House ministries;

When missionaries taught those scriptures, the natives in certain parts of the world thought they had been given permission to dump buckets of coals on the heads of their sleeping enemies! When Proverbs 25:21-22 was written – and when Paul quoted it in his letter to the Romans, housewives of the day had no gas or electric ranges or even wood stoves, for that matter. The cooking was done on small fires set between two bricks about six inches apart on the floor, or in an alcove. The only fuel likely to be available would have been a few sticks and dry leaves – and dried cow chips! Imagine cooking for your family on dried cow dung!!

Starting those fires was also difficult. There were no matches; one had to strike flint and stone, or literally rub two sticks together, over tinder. Few people had the necessary tinder or the time. So a village fire tender would be appointed. All night he would keep a small fire going. Towards morning, he would build it up, and then let it burn down to coals. Next he would scrape the coals into a metal brazier, place a wood block on his head, and with pads to protect his hands he would carefully lift the brazier and set it on the wood block. Then he would go from house to house. With metal tongs, he would place some of the hot coals between the bricks so that all the housewives could have fire for their families.

The familiar sight of the fire tender making his rounds with the coals heaped on his head gave rise to a common turn of phrase – that if you give kindness or do good to an evil man, you will turn him into one who spreads the warmth of love wherever he goes. You will “heap coals of fire on his head.”

So Paul wanted Christians to learn to overcome evil with good – not merely to withstand it, but to make use of every enmity and persecution in order to transform enemies into God’s loving servants, even as had happened to himself ! Saul of Tarsus had held Stephen’s coat when he was being stoned to death, and Stephen’s blessing and forgiveness of those who were killing him began the Lord’s transformation of Saul, the zealous persecutor of the church, into Paul, its greatest apostle.

WOW – all this from hearing “vengeance is mine” and looking into it a bit deeper

Who is waiting for God to move?  I mean, we have prayed, we have pleaded God, and constantly asked him for our prayers to be answered!  Yet, He seems to be not listening or not answering or both!

God why won’t you do what I pray for?  What have I not done that is in the way?

Isn’t that the dialogue we have?  The thoughts we mull over?  God, what else must I do to see you move?  I prayed, I waited, I prayed again, I went to the healing meeting, I got prayer, I stood in proxy for my friends, I prayed some more, I tried to be righteous and I did my best at spending time with the Lord by going to Mass and I came to the prayer meeting again, and I prayed. I went to mass again but still no movement of God?  WHY?

Let’s see, I set an expectation, a desire, and it hasn’t been met…

So maybe my expectation isn’t aligned with His will?

Well there’s that other verse I’ve heard all the time, you know, “God will give you the desires of your heart!”

What a great promise!  Why don’t I see that?  Same questions, right.

Think about this – ever have a friend that only calls when they need your ladder or a cup of sugar or some other need met?  That friend never calls to just chat or just to see how you’re doing.  Maybe they call to talk your ear off – talking all about them and their interests, never letting you get a word in and you can’t wait to find a way to end the conversation?  We would call that friend a user or at least needy and insincere – certainly not a great relationship.

Now imagine you are that person, that ‘friend’ and you are that one to Jesus?  Only calling to get your needs met or never let him get a word in during your ‘prayer request’?  Ignoring Him until the next need comes up.

How many of us do that?  “Oh Lord, make me whole, oh Lord, bless my mountain of bills, oh Lord fix that person so I don’t have to endure their woundedness…”

Let’s look at that verse again, “He will give you the desires of your heart”, I love that, of course our loving Father in Heaven who is the exact expression of love wants to give us the desires of our hearts.  BUT wait!  The verse is often quoted without all of the information… look at Psalm 37:4.

Delight yourself in the Lord ;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

So, we must delight ourselves in the Lord.

Remember Romans 12 where if we bless our enemies, we will demonstrate obedience in Him, Holiness, and that we delight in Him

Plus we have to recognize that God knows our heart better than we do.  There is a big difference between the desires of our flesh, our mind, our ideas of a ‘nice life’ and the true desires of our heart.  Our self-prescribed answer to the prayer we made may not actually be in our heart at all?

Often we expect God to move without demonstrating a relationship with Him.  We are all experienced with relationships with parents and children since we have children or have been children.  Consider a father with disobedient children, what kind of relationship is that?  I remember my children when they were little, they would wait for me to come home from work and when I walked through the door, they would say ‘daddy, catch me, I will jump from the top of the stairs into your arms’ and they would jump with full abandonment in faith in their father to catch them, complete trust in their father.  Me, a father who is far from perfect, who is just an earthy person.  Imagine what our perfect Father in Heaven desires for His children, us!  Consider a friendship where one friend is always doing all the talking?  All the requests without listening or honouring the friendship.

Who knows people who say ‘Come on God?  Do something!  My situation is the same, why won’t you do something’ and then sit back and wait for God, and say, well unless God does something, nothing is going to happen, I will never get my prayer answered until God shows up.

I say to them, he is a loving Father, and has already made the way for you and the answer to your prayer and is waiting for you to meet Him in His will.  Since He loves you He can’t and won’t force, or coerce, or manipulate you, He needs you to exercise a measure of faith and step out towards your victory with the knowledge that when you jump, He will certainly catch you.

So back to the topic – Leave Room for God

You see, if we take on all the responsibility for our healing, our revenge, our situation, we don’t leave room for God.

He wants to play a part in our lives.  The part where mercy and grace is granted, just when it’s needed.  The part where events and situations way beyond our control are somehow affected to influence our battle.   The part we can’t even imagine.  He wants so much to be a part of all that we are.  All our victories and challenges.  He wants to be our BEST friend.

We have to see that we need to risk our feelings, not trust them; we need to see that by trusting our feelings, we are almost always in disobedience to the Lord.

Our feelings have been shaped by the sinful world that has affected us, which have wounded us, which have built up the walls around our hearts.  God says, set those feelings aside, trust in Him and just do what He says.  No easy task!  It takes courage, it takes practice and it takes faith.  It takes a real personal relationship with Jesus so we can know the way.  How can we do that when we have such opposing strong feelings?  For me, it was a revelation of the fact that He has never ever let me down.  Not once.  It definitely seems like he let me down in the middle of it but after I got to the other side, and looked back I see His way was so much better than anything I could imagine.  That I grew and matured in His ways during the journey and it was for my own good that He allowed my challenge.  I often saw a challenge in my life and had maybe two or three possible outcomes, you know door ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’, and then when God answered my prayer, the answer was not any of those, it was like door ‘Z’.   Nothing I could have ever imagined and way better.

We have to leave Room for God to act on our behalf, by not taking back control when it seems like He isn’t listening or the time for Him to act has run out.

The tendency to write our own story, when the story we are cast in doesn’t meet our expectations is so strong that we revert to how we feel, trust how we feel and act on our feelings, instead of the obedience in God.  My hope tonight is that we reconsider that God is who He says He is, that God can do what He says He can do, that we are who God say we are, that we can do all things in Christ, and that God’s Word is alive and active in us.

That we “moment-by-moment” leave room for God in our lives.  That a fresh revelation of His goodness and His desire for us to be Holy is permanently burned into our beings…that we become the good, no the BEST friend with Him that He desires us to be by spending time with Him, not only to be heard but also to get used to hearing His small still voice that so desires to be heard…

Steve Hyde

One Response to “Leave Room for God”

  1. Lavern Says:

    I do believe this was an excellent topic i was truly blessed when i read it.

    Thanks a lot

    Have a spirit filled week

    May God continue to bless you as you continue to work for him.

    Bye

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