The challenge of walking with the God who knows me  

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Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.

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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Acts 15:39

“They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company”

There have been two times in my life when I have felt seriously in conflict over an extended period.  The first one was when I was working at STC.  I had technical responsibility for a computer system and we were in conflict with the part of the company that was going to supply the system.  My boss felt that it was going to cost too much and so was putting out the job to competitive tender.  In the battle that raged, and was eventually lost, I was a focal point of attack, as being the technical focus all they had to do was pour mud on me.  It was a time of deep hurt and anger to which I went to God and found comfort in the fact that he could overcome the attackers in the fullness of time.

In the second there was a battle in my mission.  In a sense it is not important what it was about, but there were two parties and I was in the leadership group of one of them.  Thankfully in this one there was less mud slinging, but the battle was no less intense as two people’s wills were put in conflict.  There were deep spiritual issues to be resolved, issues that tugged at the heart in many directions.  There was anger at the other side.  There were feelings that if only x,y,z this issue could be resolved.

In the midsts of this battle Jesus very lovingly pointed out the error of my own side and asked me to pray for a reconciliation of the sides, primarily to himself, and through that to each other.  It was quite amazing to me that having given this revelation I was not to explain it to people but to pray.

One of the observations I made over time was that it did not seem that God wanted the resolution of the axe.  There were indeed attempts to force the issue to resolution with a number of people.  It was felt that life would be easier if the conflict was resolved, and since we could not find a solution, the axe would be the best way.  Each time this was done somehow the axing failed and the issue was put back on the table for us.  It seemed to be that He was waiting for us to find Him in it – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Col 3:15 NIV)

One of the greatest problems that I had was that of not being able to pray.  Whenever I tried, my mind would start running over the latest issue.  I would start having mental arguments – which of course, I always won.  The passage that helped me in this time, was from Psalm 131 (NIV)  “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”  God was showing me that my arguments were an outcome of pride.  Pride that I had the answers.  Jesus is the one with the answers and so the only way out of the anger was to hope in him, as the psalmist continues “put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”  It meant entrusting the problem to Jesus.  Accepting that he knew the situation, that he had the power to resolve the situation, that he was working through the conflict for his own ends.  In the end I had to look to my saviour who is good, and give thanks that his resolution would be good even if it was not what I wanted.  They were hard times, but in the end a resolution was achieved, it seems amazing now but God worked through it.