Monday, May 28, 2007

Drink Water From Your Own Well

Can the Bible give us specific direction in daily living? Don’t go deeply into debt, don’t co-sign loans for others, those are specific directions but I mean more specific, such as which piece of property to buy, where to put a fence, or where to dig a well. Let me tell you a little story.

When I first started in business and built my first hotel (motel then), I bought a piece of property outside the city’s water system and had to drill a well. The driller was familiar with the area and thought we may have problems. He chose a spot closest to the neighboring back lot where he hoped the formations were most suitable. Sure enough the structure was too fine and feared unworkable. He suggested we get permission to drill a test hole on the neighbor’s lot and consider buying the lot. The neighbor was fine with it. We drilled and found the formations much better. The neighbor consented to sell me the property at a fair price.

This caused me considerable turmoil. Being my first project, coming in on budget was important for many reasons, including my total lack of money. Mostly it was my ego on the line, and a crushing fear of everything because of inexperience. We prayed and talked to our Christian friends and had no idea what to do. A good friend came to me after a church service. He related that during his daily Bible reading the Lord had illuminated this passage: Pro 5:15 – “Drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well”. We felt good about it and took it as direction from God. I remember thinking it had nothing whatever to do with actual water and wells but the Lord leads in mysterious ways.

We proceeded to poke expensive holes around the lot and finally returned to the original spot and tried making it work. The well driller finally devised a screen to handle the silt and we had a 100 gallon per minute gusher and pronounced it a miracle. The well caused me untold problems for years until city water finally arrived but we struggled through and the whole project succeeded. I told the story for years and it was an inspiring example of the Lord’s leading.

Some years later we needed more land for expansion. I returned to my neighbor, who was no longer interested in selling at any cost, expansion was impossible.

Perhaps the Lord does not lead in these specifics of our life through Bible passages. Perhaps the Lord leads through adversity, opportunity in disguise. The only way we can capitalize on this leading is by using faith and trust. With this mind-set I may have thought, “Ok Lord, this looks bad but where is the good in this. Where is your hand in this seeming problem and trouble.”

Fear could have vanished, fear of failure, fear of finances, fear of looking stupid, fear of being abused, fear of paying for the neighbor’s lot. With this mind-set I may have been much more likely to have seen the opportunity of more land, and less likely to grieve over the injustice of it all.

The practical advantages to this would have been:
1. Not spending thousands on dry holes (making the lot price even more attractive)
2. The banker would have seen the necessity and provided the money
3. We would have easily, in retrospect, paid for the land and thought nothing of it.
4. Having a much better well with fewer problems
5. Acquiring more land at a fair price (that God knew I would need or want later)
6. Much more sleep.
7. A happier family

The spiritual advantages would have been:
1. Learning this adversity principle at age 36 instead of age 60.
2. Avoiding years of turmoil and depression
3. Having a closer relationship with God
4. Becoming more like Christ and less like a raving lunatic.
5. A happier family

Do I blame my friend? Don’t be silly. We were all on the same wrong page and doing the best we could. Many thoughts went into the decision, most of them confusing. The project in general has been a great blessing. We are long past the issue and it appears inconsequential now in light of my long, unlearned lesson list. God is faithful and has allowed constant adversity. Understanding it took way too long.

Will adversity stop now that I have “learned my lesson?” Practice is required I suspect. Unavoidable misery fills the world. I’ve only scratched the surface, yet I have no desire to be an expert. Trial is always hard, the blessings are many and wonderful but misfortune is hard. We need not seek it out though … it will come. We must see through it, beyond it to God’s hand.

How did I get so smart? My current suffering opportunity has finally opened my eyes. It is Big and Huge and not my fault … yet still happening; multiple troubles. It is so bizarre and out of my control that God is my only answer. So I looked for Him in it and there he was. Rather I looked at its hopeless immensity and He revealed Himself. The more I see God in it the more I am changed for the better, peace, joy, trust, etc. My vision improved and I could see old adversities with new clarity. Thus my well story.

This was a lesson God insisted I learn or die trying. I feel honored and encouraged that He would want me to know. Yes, I feel a little beat-up but honored and encouraged, nonetheless.

I’m not going to bore you with long lists of Biblical references on how God uses adversity. Scripture is full of it. We just need to understand how it applies to us, on a personal relationship with God level (always the primary consideration).

Oh well, better late than never (procrastinator’s handbook, page 1)

by BigHugeThing

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