A group of us are involved in trying to finalize a business deal that involves a ton of moving parts. Of course, I am not at liberty to go into any detail at all, but I can tell you that different sides have different objectives and although we are all trying to cross the finish line together, the strain of the negotiations and the sheer volume of work is taking its toll on all of us.
People I have worked with for 20 years or so are getting amped up and behaviors that I would have thought impossible are now an everyday occurrence. In fact, to be totally frank about it, its like I don’t know some of the people that I am dealing with. It is amazing to me how stressful situations bring out the natural behaviors in people. Most of the time, we tend to make allowances for society and the way that we interact with others. But when things get revved up and people become more dedicated to specific parts of the goal, losing sight of the fact that everyone has to win or nobody wins, things can go south pretty quickly.
It seems that we tend to scrutinize each other with greater attention to detail and we wonder aloud about the competency of one another. Things that we fundamentally agree on, things like values and honesty and integrity, can get called into question much faster than normal. And in the beginning of these deals, we all think it will be pretty easy, but once we get into the details, we get lost in the weeds and as the title of this post suggests, “the devil is in the details.”
And I don’t mean this in a general sense. I mean that in a very real sense, it is easy to forget that God is in control and this is just the situation that Satan is looking for. To confuse us and turn us against one another. Straining relationships that have stood for years – relationships that you thought were rock solid. Because stress causes people to do strange things. We no longer take time to be civil to one another. Our goals get in the way of kindness and rather than believing that everyone can, and should, win – we immediately jump to the conclusion that if the other side wins, we must lose. We tend to forget that as Christians we are to reach out and love one another well. We forget that there are elementary kindnesses that God expects us to extend to one another. And even more than that, these kinds of circumstances promote a fertile environment for Satan to gain a foothold and do his evil work around us.
Believe me when I say that it doesn’t take much for Satan to see an opening and do damage to relationships. Those of us who profess to be Christians must realize that it is up to us to be the voice of reason and to broker stronger communications between people. Another thing – one of the attributes of Satan is that he tries to look like God and so things that at first appear to be God-centered are not. In fact, they are evil. And as Christians we must be the keeper of the vision and make sure that we remember that God is on the throne and that His will is the one that will prevail. How easy it is to forget that!
The verse for this evening is from a section of Scripture full of human problems. Job, a dedicated believer in God, endures terrible trials with the loss of his family and his wealth. At the end of his story, he confronts God in his anguish and God puts Job in his place. Finally, Job admits that he can’t even fathom the awesomeness of God. We are told, in Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”
That’s the lesson for tonight. Plain and simple. If God is at the center of your plan, it will succeed. If you forget that and don’t move toward a God centered solution, you are toast. The moment that you think you know more about the situation than the Father, you are mistaken and prone to failure. My encouragement this evening is to let you that God wants you to succeed, and He wants to make sure that you realize that He is alive and very much a part of your life. My prayer is that you will submit you ideas and petitions to God and make sure that you pray them through, asking for God’s blessing on your effort and His divine guidance in the process. Without that commitment, you don’t stand a chance long term. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…