What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4, verse 1.
How fitting. Happy Thanksgiving all, and I sincerely hope it’s a good day for you to remember all the ways God blesses you. Have you ever considered that one of the ways He blesses us is allowing us to have conflict in our lives?
You see, it’s Thanksgiving Day here and things are already tense. There are only four of us in the house today: my wife, our son, my mom, and myself. We’re going out to have dinner at our daughter’s house later, making this the first Thanksgiving in many years that we haven’t cooked. I’m a bit of a control freak, so this is causing me angst. I like to cook and put on a show, but this year it isn’t my show. Thank God it isn’t about me, but you know, it’s making me feel a bit rough around the edges.
And then there is the gingerbread house. Son Bull is building a gingerbread house to enter in the annual city contest. Last year, he won the entire show (which is quite an achievement in a city of over 100K people), so this year he’s trying to top himself. He’s a perfectionist (like his father), and he’s really struggling to not rush. Yesterday, he asked me for some advice on how to support the roof on his building, so I gave him some advice. Is he taking it? Nope. Is this causing a bit of grief between us? Sadly, yep. In the long run, does this really matter? No, not really, although it’s very likely his gingerbread house will collapse if he doesn’t do something (whether it’s what I recommended or not).
What causes fights and quarrels among us, even on days like today when we’re supposed to be higher-focused, lasered in on thanking God for all His provision? The answer isn’t difficult. We each wrestle with sin, whether it’s giving up control or watching our kids take risks. The temptation to helicopter, to overshadow, can lead to the sin of doing those things when we don’t need to. Perhaps God has something else in store. Our election to give in to the evil desire leads to the fights and quarrels.
Wouldn’t it be better to remember the verse just before? You know, the one that said “peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness?” The house might not collapse; all may be fine. Or it might just cave in and lead to something different, something better. The meal will be delicious today, and all I will have to do to contribute is wash a few dishes. Through it all, God brings us together to fellowship with each other while working through life’s conflicts. That’s fitting on every day, but especially so on this one.
Thank You, Lord, for all the ways You bless us.
How has the Lord blessed you this year?
What angst are you wrestling with today?
What can you do to let go of it right now?