Have you ever heard someone say, "Act like a Man!" We most likely have and would probably have different interpretations of what that means. I have been giving much thought to what acting as a man looks like especially when I am confronted, or treated harshly by others for no apparent reason. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." I often wonder what should I do when I do not know what to do. Prayer is one solution. Every Wednesday night we have a time of prayer at Providence. We have prayer time at home over dinners, or before we go to sleep, but what does one do when praying seems pointless and nothing changes. In counselling others often I would encourage them to continue praying and, by digging into the scriptures to see what God's Word has to say, right, but often we tend to take the situation into our own hands instead of seeing what God would have us to do. Will taking things into my own hands and finding my way to solve problems work? As I look into scripture, I see that it has worked for many of God's children, lots of times. King David, for example, took Bathsheba as a wife at the cost of killing her husband, but that did not make it right. Samson took matters into his own hands, and it worked for a short time. There are times when I as well try to make life work for me and my family by taking matters into my own hands. While I have never stolen another man's wife, or ripped the gates off a city and killed thousands with the jaw bone of a donkey, I have at times tried to negotiate with God by doing what I think will impress Him. Then when things go wrong I pout and whine, declaring, "Why have you brought me here just to abandon me?"
I recently had lunch with a guy I used to work with, and when he discovered that I counseled people including other pastors he said, "I never thougth they have real problems." If perhaps you are reading between the lines we to have real problems just like everyone else, but one thing for sure is that I am learning that I cannot deal with these so-called problems the way as I have in the past. I cannot take matters into my own hands as I used to, but instead I must put my heart and family into the hands of my God who, even when He seems far from me I know He is there, and I will "wait patiently for the LORD..." Psalms 40. When I read the Psalms I am amazed at how they become more significant to me when I am desperate, or downcast. Contrary to popular opinion, being a man does not mean I know the way, or have all the right answers, but as I read the Word of God it becomes exceedingly clear to me. "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." This is not the behavior of a wet nosed boy this is a man-sized job that can only be done when my faith is put to the test, and only then will I live "complete, lacking in nothing? James 1: 2-4.