It seems to me that sometimes God removes from our lives what would have become an idol in our lives to prevent that very thing from happening….. I have thought about this in regard to King David and the death of his first child with Bathsheba. If God had let that infant live, given David’s multitude of sins that were part of the dynamics that included that child and David’s urgent pleading for the child’s life, it is quite possible that David’s heart would have been with that child to such a degree that he would have been blinded (even more than he was already by his children). His children became a source of conflict and great pain in his life- The rape of his daughter by a half brother, rebellion by his sons, attempt to overthrow his reign. God’s plan was that Solomon would be the redemptive factor.. also a son of David and Bathsheba who showed wisdom and honored God, at least until he lost sight of God’s plan, too. And the transfer of the throne to Solomon and building of the Temple was almost usurped by an older son due to David’s immobility and complacency, lying in bed, from which he had to be shaken. Ultimately, God is God and has his reasons. We are not and we cannot begin to understand all that goes into God’s reasoning. But God’s choice to deny us something that we want and love is not a mean-spirited punitive action. It is God allowing us to see the nature of our own hearts and to learn the difference between temporal and eternal things. All those good things we lose and grieve so fretfully in this earthly life will either be waiting for us in the eternal realm or will prove to have been unworthy chimeras that should have never occupied our hearts ! God alone knows and judges between the worthy and unworthy, the righteous and unrighteous, that which will be restored to us in eternity and that which will not. If we truly know God, we can trust his love and goodness and know that he will redeem all things and that though pain lasts a while, joy will last forever. Life is hard. And God is good.
Early on my marriage was an idol for years. God pointed out that relationship to The UMC was an idol. And not just for me alone, but for many. My career at one time had been an idol that God dealt with. . Financial security was an unrecognized idol. God had to deal with me on each of those at different times and in often painful ways Those aren’t the only ones. And from time to time others threaten to arise.. It is why I find it so necessary to be in accountability with other women who know the dangers, too, of letting idols capture hidden niches in our hearts that can become strongholds for the enemy. One needs to be scrupulously honest with herself and at least one or two other people about the true nature of her heart’s desires…..If we aren’t forced to think about them and speak them in honesty, we can easily hide them from ourselves and develop comfortable masks that keep them hidden from the world, as well. But God knows and if we are professing Christians who love and serve Jesus, such deceptions will not be allowed to stand for long. The unmasking and the reflection of our own failings to us can be very painful. What made King David “a man after God’s own heart” was the fact that when his idols were exposed and stripped from his hands he didn’t turn from God…. David recognized his sin against God and repented.. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Always, his sin was against God. He says that different times in different ways to the Prophet Nathan and in the Psalms. He let his idolatry, his selfishness, his flesh’s desires overcome his obedience to God. So what was the REAL sin? Idolatry. Always.
Just because God tests something in our lives as an idol, that doesn’t mean that it remains as such…. once it’s exposed by God, do we quickly abandon it as an idol? If so, God can leave it with us once we get it in its proper perspective. That happened when God tested Abraham’s relationship to Isaac. It happened to me multiple times over different idols. Once they were exposed as such, I let them go and God said, “OK. now that we’ve got that thing in it’s proper place, you may keep it.”
There were other things he removed because they were never supposed to have been in my life or they had served their purpose and it was time to move on. “Dead wood” he called them. Dead wood God prunes regularly.
In 2016, the Lord spoke in my heart about “dead wood” being pruned from the church. I had been experiencing challenging circumstances in a denominational issue, in my local congregation, and within my own heart. God confirmed what he had spoken several times over about a week through His Word, through people known to me who knew nothing of my circumstances, and through additional circumstances that arose suddenly. I understand the “church” to be at all three levels. At the third confirming situation I asked God in prayer, “At what level is the pruning to occur, Lord?” There was no answer. Over the years as God has spoken things into my spirit, most of the time when I have sought clarification, God has not been forthcoming. Rather, I generally have to wait and watch to see the outcome as the details are worked out. I can’t think of a time when God spoke something into my spirit that didn’t happen. I can think of many ways in which the WAY in which God accomplished what He said He would do was done so out of the realm of what I could have imagined possible that I was left staggered by the outcome of it all. After so many demonstrations of that kind of “My thoughts are your thoughts and your ways are not my ways” situations, I am now absolutely a Roman’s 8:28-39 believer and know, without a doubt, that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!
When God says He is going to do something , it is pointless to speculate when or how. It will be when God desires and according to His will.