Do as I say, and stay here in this land.
If you do, I will be with you and bless you.
I will give all this land to you and your descendants,
just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father.
Genesis 26:3 NLT
Where does conflict sit with you?
I’m mildly afraid of it. Okay, I’m very afraid of it – I’m just not willing to admit that out loud because admitting it might cause conflict. 🙂
Somewhere along the line, I somehow linked “conflict” together with “threat.” Scientific research has discovered that our brain offers THREE automatic responses to a perceived threat: Fight, Flight OR Freeze. But most days I don’t even get close enough to conflict to be able to choose to fight, flight or freeze. I guess that would be the Pre-flight option…
Regardless of whether you deal with conflict like me or you are more the type that thinks conflict is good, healthy fun – conflict happens. We can’t avoid it. So, if we are to deal with it in a Godly way, we need to determine:
Does conflict = threat?
I found my answer in chapter 26 of the book of Genesis. Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, bumps into a time of persistent conflict. First, Isaac gets sent out of a country by the king because Isaacs riches make him a potential threat. Then, once in his new country, he digs multiple wells that miraculously spring water – worth more than gold in this region and culture – only to be met with local shepherds who show up and claim the springs for themselves.
But each time, Isaac remains calm and collected; he doesn’t bare his teeth. When the king sent him away, Isaac simply went. When the shepherds took over the wells, Isaac simply dug another one. He didn’t feel the need to stand his ground and fight. He didn’t even bother to take the time explaining to the king that his riches weren’t a threat or to the shepherds that the wells were definitely his. How on earth did Isaac keep his cool?!
Then it dawned on me – Isaac simply believed God held the end of his story.
In the beginning of chapter 26, God pulled Isaac aside and told him:
Do not go to Egypt. Do as I say, and stay here in this land. If you do, I will be with you and bless you. I will give all this land to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 26:2b-4 NLT)
God told Isaac how everything would end up playing out for him and Isaac believed God. Isaac knew that disproving the king wouldn’t change God’s promise. Just like he knew that God would provide for him even if every single water source was stolen.
When we know how our life story ends, we can be more intentional with the moments we have today. In other words, I wouldn’t waste time chasing down someone over a stolen ticket to ride the Titanic, knowing what I know today about it’s first and only voyage. Conflict isn’t something to be afraid of.
Conflict isn’t a threat
unless we believe it has the power to change
God’s end for our life story.
God promises that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. That’s our end. So, between now and that first day into our Promised Land, what’s really worth fighting for?
Dear Lord, I think about the way Isaac handled his challenges and I feel so foolish about how I handle mine. I lose my focus on you – the author and perfecter of my life, my beginning and my end. Give me courage and clarity to see what matters in the moment of conflict and trust you to hold the end of my story. Amen.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82328600@N00/563304745″>This is funny on so many levels.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>