According to Webster’s dictionary speculation means to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively. My definition is; filling in the blanks when you don’t have all the facts.
Lately, a lot of speculation has been seen on every TV channel concerning Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The known facts were limited or not released by the Malaysian government so experts from every area of aviation were consulted to analyze why the plane flew into the night never to be heard from again.
Human nature draws us to the unknown. Our curiosity is ignited when we are presented with a mystery. Our imagination is kicked into speculation mode.
That happened to me this week when I was reading the police report in the paper. The name of an old friend seemed to jump out at me causing my heart to miss a beat. I hadn’t seen her in several years and was shocked to see she had been arrested for transporting a controlled substance. The same account reported that her son had been arrested for making and selling a controlled substance. She was a struggling, single mother when I knew her and by now her children would be grown. What happened, I wondered.
My instant, human reaction was to call a mutual friend to see how our friend was doing. Okay, truthfully, I wanted to see if she knew about the arrest. I thought about it and decided not to speculate on the situation. Instead I prayed for my friend and her present troubles. I didn’t have to know the facts to ask God to meet her needs.
Seeking the facts should be our first concern. Our nature may speculate about the unknown but that doesn’t mean we have to give voice to it. Wondering what happened to the Boeing 777 with nearly 250 people on board will tease our curiosity until facts are located. Without that evidence, speculation that destroys someone’s reputation should be discarded.
The truth of the mystery may never be solved in our life time. I Corinthians 4:5, “Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
Have you ever speculated about someone’s actions only to find out you were wrong?
While babysitting this week, I read my daughter-in-laws notes she had written during the Sunday message at her church. The sentence that caught my attention was, “Life is hard, people are difficult, but how you respond is your choice and not their fault.”
No one makes you react in a negative way when you have been wronged. The scripture used in this sermon was Hebrews 12:15, “Let no root of bitterness springing up among you cause trouble and by it, many be defiled.” When bitterness takes root it pulls those around the issue into the trouble. No one is left without injury. Bitterness needs to be cut at the ground. The only one capable of that is the one harboring it.
Another sentence I liked from the sermon notes was, “Nursing a hurt slowly changes us as we begin to define ourselves by the perceived wrongs perpetrated against us and not the freedom purchased for us.” Our injuries come from other people, who are just as imperfect as we are. Cling to the freedom God gives and allow others to make mistakes. Do not cultivate the wrongs done. If ignored, they will starve to death. Use your energy to garden the positive in your life.
Have you ever accidently hurt someone you care about because you were harboring and nurturing bitterness against another person?
Torn by conflict among some of my Christian friends I wondered how I could survive my confusion over it in my spiritual life. I found help in Romans 15: 4-5, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
First, there is a lesson in every scripture. We can go to the Bible whenever confused or angry to find comfort and the encouragement that gives us hope.
Second, we cannot avoid challenges in our faith. That is how we build endurance, which is the ability to withstand hardship, adversity or stress. To be able to withstand, there first must be hardship, adversity or stress. The good news is in verse five that tells us God is the one who gives us the ability to endure. Though none of us get out of those challenges, God is with us through them, strengthening our hope.
Third, the same God who has given us hope has given us a spirit of unity. Drawing together as one body to worship our Lord should be as natural as seeking His presence in scripture and prayer.
I was worried about appearing to choose sides in the ongoing conflict when a dear friend said, “I stand with God who loves both sides.” I pray that this adversity will bring all those involved closer to God and to one another.
Confusion is not from God. I know my faith will survive because of the hope I have in Him.
Have you ever allowed others to transfer their negative feelings to your own faith?
One Sunday I was busy cleaning up the dining hall following coffee hour after church. A lady came in who I did not recognize. She looked lost and a little confused. I introduced myself and asked if I could help her.
She told me her story. She was in Lebanon for the first time, visiting her sister who had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Her sister had not been eating or drinking much but for the first time in weeks she had requested something to drink. Specifically, she wanted diet decaf green tea. Being a loving sister, this lady headed out to drive around the unfamiliar town in search of a store. She saw our doors open and decided to stop and see if we, by chance, had any of the needed tea.
“Let me look,” I offered. I dearly wanted to help but I hadn’t remembered seeing any diet tea of any kind on the shelf. The church seldom served tea and the few boxes available were on the bottom shelf. I was about to apologize to the lady when I saw the corner of a box behind some paper cups. A smile lit my face as I pulled the diet decaf green tea out and gave it to this woman.
Matthew 7:7 promises, “Ask and it will be given to you.” I had silently asked but hadn’t believed. Still God supplied the answer for this devoted woman and her dying sister. Why do I sometimes doubt when God is so faithful to answer? Maybe I was looking for the answer in the human world.
Have you ever been surprised that God answered your specific prayer?
Robin admired the intricate and colorful design in my hand-made Italian plate. It had been a gift to me from my former boss following her trip to her husband’s homeland. Robin barrowed the beautiful plate to copy the pattern. During the time she had it, she handled it with extreme care, worried that she would damage my treasured gift. Finally, one Sunday she brought the plate to church, relieved she was giving it back unharmed.
With the plate carefully wrapped in a paper bag, Robin started to hand it to me. Before I could reach it a corner of the bag caught on a table edge and fell from Robin’s grasp. In an instant, the plate shattered. Robin’s smile melted into horror and tears flowed as she watched her greatest fear come true.
The plate stayed where it landed as I threw my arms around Robin. “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I know how much that meant to you.”
“Not as much as you do,” I assured her. “It was only a plate.”
The following Sunday, a church member said to me, “I saw what you did last week.”
Puzzled, I asked her to explain.
She said, “I stood back and watched just to see how you would treat my friend when she broke your plate. Thank you for comforting her instead of making her feel worse.”
I had no idea anyone had witnessed our encounter. As Christians, our actions may be judged when we least expect it. I was glad my priority had been Robin’s feelings.
Have you ever learned afterwards that your actions were being watched?