Judges 3:1-6 (Part 2) – After Salvation, Sometimes Life Actually Gets Worse!

Posted: August 3, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 3:1-6 (Part 2 of 3)
The Nations Left in Canaan

I cried out to the Lord to take control of my life in December 2001. I would like to say that life all of a sudden got easier but that would be a lie. Actually, life got harder. First, within in three months after my salvation, my oldest stepson was killed in a car accident. An already destructive marriage (we had been separated from February through October of that year due to my inability handle certain extramarital news and she said was a direct reaction to some financial blunders that I had made) was going to be tested. Sure, at first, it drew us closer because a death of a child will do that. However, as time wears on, the statistics are startling.

Around 80% of marriages where there is a death of a child end in divorce. Since we were a blended family (she had three boys and I had two girls), I bet the statistics are even higher. It was her blood child and my stepchild. No matter what people try to tell you about blending families, it is difficult in the best of times and horrid in the worst of times. It’s just different feelings that you have for your own kids vs. someone else’s kids that you acquire. You may love them deeply. You may do anything for them but the depth of feeling is simply not as deep. So while my stepson’s death was devastating to me for a while, it was, on the other hand permanently devastating to my second wife. She changed. Those jealousies that were latent in our marriage over my kids vs. her kids became outright vocal. When my oldest daughter was going through her senior year and all that and off to college, these jealousies of what her son could have been doing if he were alive vs. what my daughter had actually gotten to do causes enormous friction. As well, I think the pain over her son’s death may led her to want us to “cut the apron strings” when my daughter went off to college. Instead of being a mature Christian and standing up for my child to my second wife, I began to hide all the non-tuitional expenses of my child at college (gas money, event fees, membership fees, groceries every now and then, and host of other things not covered in tuition and housing). The death of her child and my lack of spiritual leadership of my household (as I had ceded leadership to her because of sexual access long ago) destroyed what was left of our marriage.

We split up in August 2004, two and a half years after the death of her child and almost two years nine months after I accepted Christ as my Savior. Next crisis was in May 2005 when I lost my job as an internal audit director of a regional consumer finance company. I immediately went to work for a consulting firm in Charlotte and finally found a permanent job in Charlotte as a result of that Charlotte consulting gig. It was then the first time I had been away from the Greenville area since I was 14 years old. It was a lonely existence living in Rock Hill just south of Charlotte. New town. New people. New experiences. It was really tough at first. There were attempts at relationships but none lasted until the fall of 2007. It was here that I met the most influential person in my life from that point forward, Elena (who I met in June 2007 and has been my main squeeze since October 2007 and my wife since March 2010). And, I can really pick the companies, ya know, the company I had been working for in Charlotte since January 2006 was bought by this British conglomerate who immediately decided to disband our corporate office where I worked in September 2007. Another crisis of employment. Another consulting gig through another Charlotte consulting firm. Ironically, sending me back to the Greenville-Spartanburg area. A somewhat long-distance ensued with Elena since I would stay down here in the GSP area during the week and drive back to Rock Hill on the weekend. Then, lo and behold…no not another job loss…the company I was consulting at sent me out to California to help straighten out the accounting department of their problem division in May 2008. A real long distance relationship ensued. Coast to coast. Plane trips. Loneliness. Wishing. Wanting. Way long way away from family. This continued all the way until October 2008 when this problem division offered me their comptroller’s position when the previous one finally quit. Then, we as a couple had a decision to make. Split up or Elena move out to California. We tried splitting up. It lasted 3 days. The worst three day stretch I can remember in a long time in my life to that point. So, finally in August 2009, Elena moved out to California. My life finally became settled and secure way out in California. But as these things go, life at this time was not settled. The powers that be at the parent company back here in South Carolina decided that since I had gotten things straightened out with the accounting department in California, it was time to consolidate the California division’s accounting department with the rest of the company’s main accounting office here in South Carolina. So, here we go again. Moving back to South Carolina.

We moved back to South Carolina this week seven years ago. In California, we married. In California Elena accepted Christ as Her Savior. In California, we learned so much from Luke and Felisha about what it really means to be a Christ follower. It was all preparation for what has happened to us since we moved back to South Carolina. When I look back at the seven years that we have been here, we have grown so much under the leadership of our church and through our maturation as Christ followers. However, the time between may salvation in December 2001 and Elena’s move to California in August 2009, those years are all filled with tests and trials and God shedding me of my internal and external gods and idols. It was a time of eight years of testing and of failure and of victory and failure again and of victory again. That is why the way my life has been settled and stable for the last 8 years is not lost on me. I am in the still waters and in a time of blessing. It is a time that I appreciate it. It is a time that is oh so much more valuable to me because of the previous 8 years prior to the current 8 years.

It is this thought of there still being obstacles to overcome even when we are God’s chosen people that came to mind this morning as I read through Judges 3:1-6, for the second of three times that we will visit it. Let’s read it now once more:

3 These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.

5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

In this passage, we see that it was the next generation’s job to finish the conquest of the land. There were many obstacles yet to be overcome in their new homeland. How they would handle these obstacles would be a test of their faith. Perhaps, God has left obstacles in your life – hostile people, difficult situations, baffling problems – to allow you to develop faith and obedience.

If anybody tells you that the skies will part and a halo will descend upon you when you accept Christ as Your Savior and you will never have any troubles ever again, let me tell you. It ain’t so. In a lot of ways our life gets harder. We are tested. We have a mark on our backs for Satan. God is also chisel away at us and removing all the worldliness about us through circumstances, events, people, and the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls. When I look back on those first eight years after salvation, it was probably the toughest, loneliest, and difficult stretch of my life. However, when I look back on the man that I was at the time of salvation, I am disgusted at his ugliness. And ten years from now, I will look back at the man that I am now and be disgusted at how spiritually immature that I am now by comparison to how I will be then. All of the circumstances that we encounter after salvation are not always good and they are there to hone us and craft us into the beings that God wants us to be. He gives us crises to mature us. We don’t care for it at the time but its part of the growing in Christ process. And, yes, He does give us seasons of peace and seasons of blessing when we are faithful in the hard times. I can attest to salvation bringing testing. I can attest to it being tough. I can attest to making it through it. I can attest to seasons of blessing.

If you are wondering why you accepted Christ as your Savior because your life has actually gotten worse. Let me remind you that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. I am living proof of the process. Hang on. Hold on. Hold on to Jesus. He has a purpose for you in your post-salvation life.

Amen and Amen.

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Comments
  1. Love this, and love you! God knows exactly what we need and He is faithful to complete the work He began. It is my honor to be your baby girl and wife and I thank God for YOU. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

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