Friday, August 28, 2009

Guidance and the Voice of God - Case studies

Well we have come to the end of Guidance and the Voice of God where we have been left with a helpful reminder that God’s voice is clear in guiding us, because He has spoken to us by His Son and in the Scriptures. Anything beyond this, any search for signs or a special will for your life, is not part of God plan and is not true guidance.

Just for something a bit different, I thought I would end these posts with a few (completely fictional!) case studies of my own. What guidance would you offer each of these women?

Lauren
Lauren has been married for a bit over seven years to Jack and they have two girls, Amy who’s six and Ava who’s two. Jack works in international business and is away 3-4 nights of most weeks and is often overseas for weeks at a time. When they were first married, Lauren sometimes went with Jack on these trips, but since Amy started school this has been impossible. On top of that Ava’s going through the terrible 2s and Lauren feels like her life consists of saying, “don’t touch that, do you need to go wee wee” and scraping a screaming child off the supermarket floor. Due to Jack’s working hours, she often feels like a single mum, who doesn’t even get to have adult conversations at the end of the day.

Lately though, there’s been this lovely single dad she’s been chatting to at the school-gate. His daughter is one of Amy’s best friends so they have lots of opportunities to chat. One day, he suggests that instead of just dropping Amy off for the girls sleepover, Lauren and Ava should stay to have dinner with him and the girls. Jack will be away, so Lauren was facing yet another night alone ... what should she do? It is afterall just a dinner and all the girls will be there. What should she do?

Alyssa
Alyssa grew up in a Christian family and has always dreamed of being a single woman missionary. She wanted to be like those strong independent women of the early 1900s that she has read about in so many of her missionary biographies. Late last year though, she met David at a Christian convention. They hit it off straight away. They have lots of things in common, including her interest in overseas mission and recently they have been spending so much time together that they have begun to consider marriage. The problem is, is that Alyssa is not sure she should be getting married when she had planned on staying single for the sake of the gospel.
What should she do?

Kayla
Kayla has recently entered her mid-thirties. She has a good job and is now at the stage in her carer where she can dictate her hours a bit more. She has been using her flexibility to help out around church: organising various rosters, playing in the band and coordinating a few of the social activities.

Recently though she has really been feeling the desire to get married. The only men at her church over the age of 25 are generally married and she knows nothing would ever happen between her and any of the handful who aren’t. It has been suggested to her that she should change churches. She’s never going to meet anyone at St Smalls, her friends tell her, so she should check out St Bigs, 5 suburbs away. The mere size of the church should increase her chances of meeting someone. So what should she do?

Well, there you have it, Lauren, Alyssa and Kayla, all with big decisions to make.
What do you think they should do and why?

2 comments:

Ali said...

Comment from Michelle:-

LAUREN

Should Lauren have dinner with her single dad friend and their daughters while her husband is away?

Well there is a Biblical command about not committing adultery, but she’s not actually doing that.
In a sense this is not a right/wrong decision because she is just having dinner with a friend and there is nothing in God’s revealed will against that.
It could be seen as a matter of Christian freedom, so I think the next step in making the decision is to ask whether it is a wisdom issue. As we have moved around our circle diagrams here, I think that is where we are at.

In Proverbs 4:14-15 it says Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.

It is an unwise thing to do to even set foot, to take the first step, towards doing the wrong thing. Sure this may be a seemingly innocent dinner, but you don’t have to have been on the planet long to know where so many innocent dinners end up.

It would be unwise to start a relationship that has such a strong potential for adultery – and if you think you can control yourself and you wouldn’t let things get that far – well you need to go back to Jeremiah and remember that.
Jeremiah. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.

Don’t fool yourself. Once you fool yourself in this way, its not long before that worldly guidance begins to replace God’s guidance in your life.

ALYSSA

Starting at God’s revealed will, we will find in 1 Cor 7 that its is good to marry and it is good to stay single.

This is a matter of complete freedom with no right or wrong. Whether or not there are also wisdom issues to be considered, can only be known by Alyssa and those close to her.

KAYLA

Here I think the first starting point is where our first 2 circles overlapped with Peace with God.
This relationship with her creator is the long term goal of Kayla’s life and she can be sure that she is not missing out on God’s best life for her if she does not get married. Peace with God is the true end point, not marriage.

Well with that set, Kayla needs to ask the Holy Spirit to guide her as to whether this is a matter of obedience to Scripture or of Christian Freedom.

Yes, she is free to go to any church that teaches the Bible, but scripture also tells us that we are members of the body given different gifts to build up the whole church. Is it selfish for her to leave for this reason?
Scripture also talks about learning contentment – should she be praying for that more than for a husband?

inks75 said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Jensen and Payne clarified my thought process so much when it comes to issues of godliness, wisdom or irrelevance. Here is my penny-worth of thought:

Lauren: She is feeling vulnerable and doesn't seem happy with the way her marriage is working out. neither would I, might I add. To go for dinner at a single dad's place might not be unfaithfulness but Jesus said that if we look at a woman/man with lustful thoughts, we have already committed adultery. She would put herself at great danger to go down this route and would only sow the seed for deeper discontentment into her marriage.

Alyssa: Married or not married is irrelevant. Paul said that in this world, he wished that people will remain unmarried for the Gospel. is is because one is more godly if one is unmarried? No! Can marriage hinder your involvement into ministries? Certainly! With marriage often comes children and other responsibilities and the management of our time is often redirected. One important she should ask herself, and and David is 'would our relationship put a stop to my missionary ambitions? And if yes, am I willing to do it?' He might have the same desire to be a missionary with her, or he might have different desires that Alyssa might be willing to follow to serve our Lord in a different way.

Kayla: The desire to get married is quite understandable. What is not is to see church as a social club where one can subscribe until our needs are not met anymore. The church is a place where one goes to serve and and encourage others,a place of commitment where we try to think strategically where the Lord would best use us and our gifts. I would strongly encourage Kayla to pray and wrestle with God about this desire of meeting someone, without compromising her selfless attitude towards the church, and learn through this time to be content with what God gives us and what He seems to restraint from us.

Those are interesting cases!!