Addition and subtraction
By Rev. Al Williams, II
Special to the Outlook
Life can sometimes be everything it should be yet not what any of us would hope for. Circumstances can become challenging for a particular season but because it is not what we expected or planned many assume that disappointment and frustration is the only appropriate response. In a nutshell, the scenarios of our lives are sometimes viewed through the lens of dissatisfaction all because our circumstances do not always match our previous expectations and fail to line up with our anticipation of where we assumed we deserve to be!
God has an incredible way of disproving the faulty assumptions which often characterize our mentality about what truly matters. God in His sovereignty will often show us that what matters most to us is not what matters most to Him!
When Israel looked around at the surrounding nations and became enamored with the towering stature and physique of Saul, God would later select a shepherd in his adolescent or at best teenage years who was too small to even wear a soldier’s armor to be anointed for the task of ruling his people! Why? It was for the purpose of showing them that outer appearances lack significance if they are not a reflection of an inward reality!
The seventh verse of the sixteenth chapter of the book of first Samuel contains these words, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected (those things). For the LORD sees (differently) than we see: (We) look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart!”
God wants us to understand that He will often work in unusual ways in order to showcase His power and to reveal that we do not always need everything we assume we need! God does reductions in order to provide gains and He allows restrictions in order to provide freedom. God places limitations in order to provide expansions and He brings decreases in order to provide increases!
There is a curious story in which a man who has been in hiding is called by God to step out of hiding onto the scene history in order to be the human agent of deliverance for God’s people the Israelites. After Gideon questions God and rehearses the fact that he is from the smallest tribe and the weakest in his own family, Gideon receives confirmation that despite all of his perceived inadequacies’ God was about to use him in a powerful way. Everyone needs to know that God can use each of us in a powerful way but we cannot allow our perceived weaknesses or vulnerabilities or flaws to hinder us from embracing God’s extraordinary call upon our lives!
God desires to remove anything which hinders our experience of Him working extraordinarily on our behalf! He yearns to subtract and remove the things standing between us and Him; consequently, anything which becomes a barrier to our confidence in His power must go! God wants to eliminate self-reliance and develop our dependence on Him! God wants to enable us to overcome our inclination toward an unhealthy self-indulgence in order to increase our discipline! The Lord will work in an extraordinary way but it will require that we allow some things to be subtracted so that other things can be added! Let God add peace, favor, strength, and reassurance because it will be worth it!