I am very pleased and greatly honoured to introduce Susan. Susan is a published author and runs the blog Pregnant With Hope. She writes for couples with infertility but her blogs contain wisdom and advice for all.
According to philosopher Paul Woodruff, reverence is the virtue that keeps people from trying to act like gods. “To forget that you are only human,” he says, “to think you can act like a god – this is the opposite of reverence.”
What does that have to do with the way your life’s unfolding?
Most people I know would say, ‘Nothing.’ They don’t believe they’re trying to act like gods. Just the opposite. They’re well aware of their inability to control their destinies. They may fantasize about a perfect and satisfying life, but they certainly don’t feel able to manifest it at will. The absence of god-like powers is a source of frustration for them – as it probably is for you.
But re-read Woodruff’s definition. “To forget that you are only human, to think you can act like a god..”
Turns out, it’s not so easy to sidestep conviction. When you assume you can will yourself to reach any goal, you’re forgetting that you’re only human. When you feel aggravated that you can’t stop stressing or worrying or crying over your current circumstances, you’re forgetting that you’re only human. When you think you should have known life would unfold this way and planned the next move, you’re forgetting that you’re only human.
Okay, but “to think you can act like a god?”
Consider this. Have you tried to negotiate with God, as if you’re His peer? Or to compel Him to give you what you want, as if you’re His supervisor? Have you tried to anticipate His next step, as if you’re His intellectual equal? Or to outmaneuver Him, as if you’re smarter than He is? Have you yelled at Him in anger, as if He owes you an explanation? Or stopped communicating altogether, as if you deserve an apology?
Well, maybe Woodruff’s comment isn’t so far off the mark.
Truth be told, when our will for our lives is thwarted, it brings out the worst in many of us. Rather than showing reverence for the only one with the unlimited power to alter our circumstances, change our story’s trajectory, and determine the story’s outcome, we unconsciously attempt to leapfrog Him so that we can be the ones in control. That is the height of irreverence – both foolish and impossible. And, it’s the best way to insure the journey to our desired destination will take a very long time.
Which leaves us where? On a fairly predictable journey that leads from pride to humility, and from resentment to gratitude. I believe ensuring that transformation in us is God’s primary purpose in allowing our circumstances to slow us down – not to frustrate our hopes, but to make us more the people He wants us to be when He entrusts us with His very best for us.
Do you have a sense for how to make that journey? It can be difficult to step outside your circumstances and gain much-needed perspective. Reverence will assist you, and this promise from Isaiah should reassure you:
“Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”
Are you listening for that voice? If so, you’re on the right path.