Suprised by “Failure”?
<p> <strong>By Robb Besosa</strong> (Regional Team Leader)</p> <p> Recently I had the opportunity to sit with a couple for several days. They poured out their difficulties in an attempt to find resolution for the constant conflict that plagued their marriage history of 17 years. Hectic work schedules, traveling, social commitments, teenagers in activities, and church responsibilities were all part of the contributing factors for years of unresolved conflict.</p> <!–break–> <p> Underneath all of that; a history of legalism, a performance based understanding of relationships, spiritual immaturity, bitterness, resentment, and adultery. With all of these circumstances combined, this situation mandated solid, insightful, precise, and clear biblical wisdom to bring about lasting change.</p> <p> I would like to tell you that the lives of the husband and wife dramatically changed because of the Biblical Counsel given them at TS; that this couple is now a “great testimony to God’s ability to heal relationships.” However, neither of these statements would be true. The cases we take and work through at Twelve Stones don’t always work out in a way that allows us to easily look at circumstantial evidence and declare “what a success.” But, with regards to the case I mentioned, here’s what did happen; I was faithful to show up, out of a desire to be faithful and loving I brought my gifts to bear, God’s Word was opened, and truth gently shared. At the end of the day, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to enlighten and soften hearts; I cannot depend solely upon my competence or lack thereof. As such, I must put my hope in God’s sovereignty. He orchestrates all events, He can redeem every situation, His plans will not be thwarted, and His Word will not return void. Over the years I have learned that there is no other place worthy of putting our hope than in the work of the Father.</p> <p> As I unpacked the life stories of the couple mentioned in the snapshot above, I worked hard to understand the struggles they faced, synthesize the destructive relational patterns they experienced, lean on Scripture to address the heart issues behind the sin as well as sin itself, and develop diagrams that seemed to capture the dynamics of their destructive interactions. At my home in the evenings, after Mary and I had put the kids to bed, I would lay in my own bed, ruminate on what to say, scribble multiple notes in the file on my nightstand, and intercede on the couple’s behalf for God’s intervention.</p> <p> Despite my efforts, none of the truth shared seemed to find soil for root. So, following the intervention, I wrestled for a few days with the typical, “I wish I would have…,” “I shouldn’t have said…,” “I wish I was more like…,” “Next time I’ll…,” and so on. Conversely, when others asked “how did it go,” I found myself tempted to overemphasize the positive, wax eloquence on my “shining moments”, or leave out the fact that I was profoundly perplexed throughout the case and had no idea what to say. All of these mental wranglings pointed to the fact that, at least to some degree, I had become convinced the outcome of counseling was solely dependent upon my level of competence.</p> <p> In my experience, most of us wrestle with thoughts of this sort occasionally, if not regularly. I agree that counseling training and intentionally growing in competence can be a great way to serve the body. I also agree that a positive attitude can be beneficial, and some self reflection redemptive as we gain insight from and grow as a result of our shortcomings. </p> <p> However, if that all focuses on determining our “competence” based on our perceived failures or successes, we may either become over-confident in our flesh or, upon the next given opportunity, abdicate our responsibility to love our brother to “someone more qualified. ” Yes, sometimes God allows us to receive some type of training in order to help specific people more effectively. But remember, most examples in Scripture reveal that God allows us the opportunity to help others in order for us to receive the training we need. One thing we know is true: We are all qualified and called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, but that does not always translate into effectiveness, success, or feeling comfortable. Despite my training and experience I still get stumped and am reminded of my dependence on God. Because of my training and experience I can get self-reliant and must remind myself of my dependence upon God lest I work out of my fruitless flesh. We are all given “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-21). In light of this high calling and because of “Christ’s divine power granted to us,” we have been given everything needed for life in godliness (2 Peter 1:3-11) and thus, are fully equipped by the Holy Spirit to enter, love, and speak into other people’s lives… right where we are.</p>
Posted on November 8, 2013