There are various ways that we end up having “missing” pieces in our lives because we mismanage, misappropriate, and misdirect. Mismanaging usually happens when we lose focus on what’s most important (a real and sincere relationship with God).  As a result, it becomes easier to slowly shift out of a safe position of obedience and into a vulnerable, prideful position of disobedience and rebellion.    

The phrase “With great authority, comes great responsibility” came to mind as I was thinking about this week’s column.  In a nutshell, this phrase relates to another one regarding missing pieces that I’d been through a few years back.  I found myself repeating spiritual tests with things like self-confidence and forgiveness.  You’re probably thinking “She must not have passed that test for God to send her through it again.”  Honestly, I thought the same thing and was so careful to be more sensitive to the leading of the holy spirit and be obedient to learn the lesson that God had for me.  Luke 12:48 reminds us that “…  For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required and to whom much has committed, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:48

In the past, I’ve foolishly to sought after the approval of others because I wanted people to like me, and something was missing.  I didn’t realize that by focusing on being liked, I was losing sight of the more important goal of being respected.  I was ultimately disappointed when others showed that they cared little for the things of God and even less for me.  And when it was all over, I was out of position, confused and longing to restore my relationship with God.  And what was missing was a genuine relationship with God that went beyond the superficial going to church and knowing the latest gospel songs.

The second time this happened, I avoided the valley of negative emotions from disappointments. In fact, I strengthened my relationship with God by staying focused on growing spiritually and not getting bogged down emotionally.  However, one puzzling question remained:  If I passed the test, why did it seem like my results were the same?” I soon realized that the big difference was my emotional and spiritual response.  The second time, I more effectively stayed in position by keeping the proper balance of prayer, praise, and worship.

For me, it seemed like the key to passing my test was more an assessment of how well I understand the process more than anything.  What had been missing was my trusting completely in God. Previously, I’d sabotaged God’s plans and purposes because I don’t understand or like the process that he was taking me through.  Eventually, I had a great peace when I allowed myself to be humble enough to trust God.      

Because of the great authority that we have as Christians, we have an even greater responsibility to stay in the right position of humble acceptance of even the most difficult circumstances in our lives.  We pass the test when we accept the great responsibility that we have to trust in God more fully.