Many of you took stock of your situation as the year rolled over from 2014 to 2015. I used to scoff at the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve come to realize that the concept has merit and occurs in some ways in the Bible. No, I’m not going to relate my resolutions to you. You really don’t care about that, I know. But I do want to share with you about taking stock.
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. Judges 3:12-15
I took stock of my situation almost every day during my marriage to an abusive spouse. I did this in private, usually in the shower because it was the only place I could be alone. I cried and talked to the walls about how unhappy I was, how I felt trapped, how I wanted out but didn’t know what to do. These “conversations” were my early attempts at crying out to God. Later, I learned that my husband heard me during these times, but he never interrupted. I’m shocked as I write that piece of information because the one thing he feared more than anything was the idea that I might leave.
At some point, my taking stock shifted to something more productive. We had moved to another town where my husband had found a job! I started back to school. I always did well in school and this time wasn’t different. My confidence and trust in myself started to return. Plus, I had friends who only knew me. Friends I could talk to. I didn’t reveal what was happening, but I dropped hints. Anyone listening would understand my situation was bad. One person heard more than the others and told me my family would help me.
This caused me to take stock again and recall something my brother said to me a few weeks before my wedding: “When he hits you, come home.”
I had forgotten. At the time, I argued that he would never hit me.
Taking stock, crying out, brought this back to me. It gave me the courage I needed to consider the possibility that a way out did exist. It took about a month from that point, but soon I did leave him.
Crying out to God caused many people in the Bible to reconsider their lives. In the Old Testament, the Israelites do this over and over. When their lives turned sour and they found themselves in bondage, they took stock and, eventually, cried out to God. Each time they sought Him, God responded. I believe He did the same for me.
Do you need to take stock of your life? Or have you experienced God’s response to your cries before? What help did you receive when taking stock?