I hate conflict. Maybe you do too? But the reality is, we have conflicts in this life. (Hold on…it gets better. HEAVEN is conflict-free.) Most likely, I hate conflict because it always seems to be handled so poorly. People vent. People insult. People misunderstand but then can’t see that they misunderstand (at least from where you’re sitting!) Relationships turn sour or end altogether. It’s sad. Disappointing. Destructive. I hate conflict.
But recently, God has used conflict to do something new in me. And here at Putting On the New, we’re all about that, right? SO here’s the story…
A conflict, completely due to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of things said, was occurring in the life of my husband and I. This issue was not between the two of us, but between us and someone else. It was weighty. It gnawed at us. We tried to explain there had been a vast misunderstanding, but it just wouldn’t resolve. Months went by. Months of labored prayer in us. Praying that God would resolve it for His glory and that all would be well. And guess what? God answered…with a SECOND CONFLICT. Now the conflict was with a different someone and there were misunderstandings between a small group of people. This second conflict made the first seem small in comparison! As I prayed, meditated on scripture and communed with God over this whole situation, I began to see clearly. God desires restoration, yes. But we also live in a fallen world where people with fallen eyes and fallen hearts live and act in fallen ways…me included. BUT God is MOST CONCERNED about our restoration TO HIM!
God, I believe, was showing me that when conflicts begin to pile up and I am fearing what others think of me, I just don’t have the power to fix things. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18 (NIV) tells us. God helps us see that sometimes it may not be possible to resolve every single thing between two people in this life. But it IS possible to resolve every single thing between He and I. My conflict with God was settled at Calvary. Jesus did the mediating for me. All my sin. All my wrong against God. All my lack of submission to the ONE TRUE authority. Jesus covered it all for me and bore it on the cross. All I have to do is cry out to God, repent, and trust in Him and the conflict ends.
WHAT WONDERFUL NEWS!! The one I most need peace with (GOD) has provided the way for it. He did it all for me. He sees everything in my heart, all the dirt and grime I cannot even see, and wants to make peace with me? Yes. This is Good News. This is the Gospel. Somehow, when I meditate on this truth, the smaller conflicts of life grow strangely dim. I cannot control what men and women think of me, no matter how hard I try. But I can respond to God and have total peace with Him. Blessed Assurance.
I would never have prayed for a second conflict to be the answer to my prayer, but God knew. Because His ways are higher, He sees our true need and answers us in ways that will bring that about. All I truly needed was more of Him. That’s what He gave. If this is my view in life, I will never be shaken.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:7-11