In my random, spaghetti-brained style of internet reading, I came across an article on Andy Stanley & Charles Stanley's relationship. While this search result had nothing to do with what I was originally intending to look up, my curiosity got the best of me and I continued to read the article, as I was unaware of the challenges & trajectory of their relationship. I had watched Charles Stanley on tv as a child & today I have been blessed an challenged by the Andy Stanley podcasts & DVD lessons I have listened to.
I was encouraged by a story of a relationship transformed. During one period, he left behind all that he had known and grown, to start fresh and respond to God's calling for his individual life. Taking that leap of faith not only allowed him to grow as an individual leader, but it offered a place for resolution to take place in the strained relationship. There's something so beautiful about being empty and alone. Andy shared a quote that is based on the story of David & Absalom (similar father-son situation):
“Beginning empty handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them.” – Gene Edwards in his book The Tale of Three Kings
I am reading just ahead of what we're currently reading at church (1 Samuel 25ish--the story of David) and so this quote was timely, as I am learning so much in this chapter about relationships and God's provision.
For a long time, I spent my days working hard, learning as much as I could and building business relationships. While my son is quite at the age to try to overthrow the kingdom (or form his own church) yet, it did hit me that I wasn't investing in that relationship or with other members of my family the way that I felt God was calling me to do. While the other things that I had put so much value and effort into weren't altogether bad things, I truly formed my life missions around what was constructed for me as the American dream. In order to take a stand for my most valuable relationships & to have the opportunity to respond to God's calling for my life in this season, I found myself in a place where I had to start over. And for a while, I felt alone & empty-handed.
But God has shown favor & granted wisdom. It really is an opportunistic place to be. Emptying our own "worldly" ambitions is difficult in our Americanized culture, but it allows the opportunity to grant God the ability to fill us. Standing on faith & leaning into God's truth unbridled by our own constrictions allows for an opportunity for God to give us purpose & to create healing in the waste places.
I have just begun the process of restoring some crucial relationships (not all were broken--mostly just not lived to the fullest). I believe that it's key to trust Him to fill our empty hands & to have the faith to put our lives in His hands.