S (scripture): Deuteronomy 31:20 For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I promised on oath to their ancestors, and they have eaten their fill and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, despising me and breaking my covenant.
O (observation): God is speaking through Moses in this passage, telling the people what would happen in the years to come when they would occupy the land God was giving to them. They had walked for 40 years through the wilderness, depending on God to sustain them. Now, finally, the waiting was over. But God was predicting it would not go well. Prosperity would not result in greater fidelity and faithfulness, but less.
A (application): This sounds to me like human nature. When things are going well people tend not to feel a need for God. Things feel in hand. In control. God? Nope, I’m good thanks. But when the unexpected comes and our life props are taken from us (money, job, relationships, status, etc…) that tends to change. In a hurry. Desperate people often reach out to God wholeheartedly. Our illusions of self-sufficiency are taken away. Our need is exposed and we are left with the sobering truth there is nowhere else to turn.
A lot of my close relationships, relationships that have defined me, are in transition. For instance, my children are young adults now, not teenage kids. I’m learning to let go of them so they can make their way in the adult world, but it’s not easy. I still find myself wanting to direct them rather than support, encourage, or challenge them. I’m learning that decisions for their lives belong to them now, not me. That’s not easy for a dad.
And I’m trying to figure out what being a husband looks like in a season when our child-rearing years are coming to a close – at least a particular chapter of that season. For 25+ years Jana and I have invested so much into the children, but that’s changing. We’re still connected, but differently. A key purpose for our own relationship has shifted significantly. So what does marriage look like now? How are we to engage one another after spending decades focusing so much of our time and energy elsewhere? We’re trying to figure that out. Mostly I need to know what being a man looks like now. I’m leaning on the Lord to show me.
P (prayer): Heavenly Father, you know our human tendency to ignore you, especially when times are good. We get to a place where we don’t think we need you. Yet I know from experience that situation doesn’t last. Human need always shows up and reveals the truth of our dependence on you. Give us grace to embrace you, follow you, right now – in whatever season we may find ourselves. Turn our hearts toward you, O God. Amen.