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Christian Counseling - The Unseen God

There is a homework assignment I often give to married couples. I ask them to look for and write down the good things that their spouse does for them during the week. In most cases, it is amazing how quickly their perspective changes regarding their spouse. You see, once we build up a negative image of someone, we tend to take in the information that confirms our hypothesis about them, while disregarding the information that would contradict our hypothesis. Another way to say it is that we tend to find what we look for in life.

There is a second reason an assignment like this can be helpful. When our spouse does something that we struggle with, we can look back at the things that we have written. While it may not and often should not eliminate our anger or disappointment completely, it will help to put the present situation in some perspective.

I have recently been reading the book of Exodus and have wondered what would have happened had the Israelites done their homework regarding God. God continued to bless them, yet, at the first sign that they are not getting everything they want, they start to carve graven images. I have often thought how much easier it would be to follow God if only I could see a burning bush. Many people I have spoken with have said the same. Yet, as years pass, I realize that, often, we are more like the Israelites than we would like to admit.

There is often real and profound disappointment that we deal with in our relationship with God as we open our minds and hearts to have a deeper understanding of who He is in our lives and His role in the world. This is an extremely difficult process for many as our original Santa Clausian ideas of God are challenged by our experience of life. As we wrestle with these issues, we need to remain mindful of God's past and present provision in our lives. If not, we are likely to end up like the Israelites or like a teenage child who, while coming to grips with the fact that mom and dad are not perfect, forgets the good that they have represented in their lives.

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