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Praying for Failure?

Praying for Failure?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25

It’s a little terrifying for me to consider where my life would be if I’d been able to keep my drug use a secret. If I’d been able to avoid the spiraling behavior of my addiction, and if no one had discovered it, I would have avoided painful consequences . . . and I’d still be using.

Whenever I meet someone who just decided one day to stop smoking – without any painful consequences – I’m a little amazed. Some people can just decide to quit. Most of us who’ve been addicted though, have required some painful impetus to change. It often requires jail, loss of a job, injury, or other noxious stimuli to convince us to do what it takes to abandon the thing that has enslaved us. As long as our addiction is working, we’re likely to continue in it.

This is the problem with our version of success. If our behavior isn’t causing us any obvious injury – even if it’s horrible behavior – we’re not likely to change. We follow our way for a reason. It does something for us. As long as we’re getting what we want out of it and we’re not suffering the consequences, it’s doubtful that we’ll choose the pain of transformation.

This is why Jesus said it was so difficult for the wealthy to find the kingdom of God. The self-sufficient man is fine on his own. He needs little and, in his success, he doesn’t truly need God. He may want God, but it’s hard for him to comprehend dependence on God, because dependence on self has worked so far.

The rich man, like me, often needs failure and pain to realize the futility of following self. Frequently, it takes the misery of consequence to make us understand our true need for God.

I don’t like praying for failure for another, but when I pray every morning for those who are still struggling with any addiction, I pray that God would do whatever it takes to draw them to him. I pray this knowing that it will likely require pain to awaken them from their spiritual slumber. God, just as you didn’t allow me to continue down my self-destructive path, please do whatever it takes to get a hold of them.

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  1. Sarah says:

    I like how you said you don’t like to necessarily pray for failure for someone but rather that God would do whatever it took for that person to draw near to Him.
    In thinking about this then, are we to implement consequences, causing possible failure and/or pain (if able) for that person in hopes that it would help direct the person to God or are we to leave it in God’s hands, knowing that it’s going to cause us pain in the wait as well.
    Jesus showed love to others even if he knew they might not follow Him, so how are we to do the same in the “wait and wonder” of it all, causing pain and consequences in our own lives – where do we draw the line or put up boundaries? (I’m sure you have the answer, so if you wouldn’t mind sharing it please 🙂)

    • Scott says:

      Ha! Yes, I have all the answers of course. No – that’s a tough one that I’ve thought a lot about lately. In the case of a friend who is driving drunk, is it appropriate to call the police? I think so. I think it may even be an obligation. If it is a friend who has a successful business however, and they are addicted to money, is it appropriate to sabotage the business so they find failure? Probably not. Are there all sorts of grays in between? Yes. The hardest I guess is when it’s someone close. Creating boundaries is appropriate – my wife leaving me if I refuse to stop using drugs – but sabotaging the other’s life just to inflict pain isn’t appropriate. How much is it appropriate to put up with depends on the nature of the relationship. I can easily cut off someone I don’t know. It’s much harder (and probably wrong) to cut my child out of my life.
      That’s all I got. I hope that makes it all better 🙂

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