Seeking the Counsel of God...
“I’ll get to it as soon as I can!” I yelled into the phone and slammed down the receiver. It was 3:00 pm on a Friday and all I wanted to do was get home and have a drink. But as soon as I hung up it up, it rang again. As I picked up the receiver, I could barely manage the rage I felt. Why couldn’t you all just leave me alone! Several of my favorite swear words followed that thought. And I answered with a curt,
“This is John, what now!”
There was silence on the other end then a soft voice said,
“Is this John Weston?”
In a gruff voice I answered,
“Yeah, and I am busy, what can I do for you?”
There was a moment of silence again and as I waited, I was becoming more impatient. Finally, she said,
“John, this is Margie Hooper, I just wanted to let you know, Leroy passed away last night.”
As I listened, I was trying to place the name and the idea of someone I knew had died. Suddenly, it came to me. Hooper, Margie Hooper, my old boss’s wife, she was telling me Hambone was dead. It was my turn to be silent and I heard her say,
“John are you there.”
I could only answer,
“Yeah, Margie, I am here.”
And after a few deep breaths asked,
“What happened, how did he die.”
Margie went on to tell me about the lung cancer which had eventually reduced him to a shadow of the man we all remembered. I felt tears coming on, one of the men I had loved and trusted was dead.
Leroy Hooper, better known to his friends and enemies as Hambone, because as the story goes, he was so ugly as a child his father had to tie a hambone around his neck to get the dog to play with him. And the truth be known, he was homely, with scraggly hair and close-set eyes, he was said to scare little children. But among the Ironworking world he was known as one of the best. When I was fresh out of my apprenticeship, we hooked up on a project in the iron range of Upper Michigan. He took me and 3 others under his wing. We traveled together and he became my mentor and advisor. Soon enough we went our separate ways but never lost contact and over the years he gave me the confidence to take on jobs I would have never had the courage to do. I depended on him and believed in his advice.
How often in life do we depend on human wisdom. We listen to advise of friends, or we seek the counsel of a doctor or psychiatrist. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with this, we need the strength and human advise of those who can counsel us correctly. But more often than not, we find ourselves relying on this without seeking the counsel of the one who created us, without asking God.
In the book of Jeremiah, we read this,
“Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to His ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 32:19)
It is only right that as we are seeking the advice of men we should not forget to be in prayer at the same time, seeking the counsel of God.
In the gospels, we see that Jesus never made a decision unless he was in prayer with His Father, look at this verse in the gospel of Luke,
“One day soon afterwards Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak, he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.” (Luke 6:12-13)
Jesus did an all-night prayer vigil; only then would he decide. In our day-to-day life shouldn’t our decision process be the same?
In what I call my lost years, I could not believe that you could actually talk to God, to trust Him as I could a trusted friend. I laughed at people who would say, “Turn your problems over to Him and believe.” How could that be? How could you ask an invisible God for counsel? But as I read His word and did believe, time and time again, He has not only answered my prayer but has given my life direction. I find that the decisions I make might not all be what I had expected but always are what is best for me and I trust in this verse,
”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Having God as my friend and counselor has changed everything!
I was terribly saddened by the passing of my good friend and advisor. I still seek the advice of my Christian friends but now with prayer and seeking the counsel of God’s word. I am glad that He is my advisor, you can’t get any better than the Creator of the universe as a best friend and counselor.