What Did You Think Would Happen?
I will kill my brother Jacob. Genesis 27:41
Over the years of working in the ER and Urgent Care, I’ve had many moments when I wanted to ask – What did you think would happen? People do dumb things, not thinking through the consequences. I’ve had similar moments myself though. Several years ago, our boat lift quit working, and I thought I could figure it out myself. So, I set out to remove the malfunctioning part. With the boat lift bunks in the up-position, I was underwater, removing the pin that held the bunks up. Once that pin was removed, gravity took over and the bunks came crashing down, trapping my legs and me underwater. Panicking and in pain, I could just barely get my mouth above the surface to scream for my wife, who ran down, jumped in, and rescued me. She didn’t ask, but we were both thinking it – You knocked out the pin holding the bunks up? What did you think would happen?
Those around me wanted to ask the same thing in my drug addiction. You used your own license to get pills? What did you think would happen? It’s a fair question, and the answer is important if you want to understand addiction. Addiction is repeating a self-destructive behavior, despite knowing and experiencing painful consequences. I knew my life would be ruined when I got caught, but still, I couldn’t stop. My decisions at that point were made only by the drug. So, I risked everything – and lost big. What did you think would happen? I didn’t think. I simply obeyed my impulsive appetite.
I’ve got to wonder if Jacob ever asked himself this question. In today’s passage, Jacob had just duped his father into blessing him instead of Esau. Having lost both his inheritance and his father’s blessing, Esau was enraged and plotted to kill Jacob. What did Jacob think was going to happen? Did he think Esau would just laugh it off? If Jacob had thought it through, he would have seen this coming – If I steal my brother’s entire future, there will be consequences. Jacob however, remained unable to see past his own ambition.
In my addiction, my decisions were made only by my now-appetite, with no regard for consequences or tomorrow. In recovery now, I’ve had to learn to think things through. If I eat this today, what will happen tomorrow? My behavior has consequences and if I want my life to be somewhere tomorrow, I’ve got to make decisions to head that direction today. If I don’t, then tomorrow, I’ll be asking myself – What did I think would happen? If I desire to experience the life God intended, then daily, I must choose to look beyond my now-appetite.