Never.

The Word “Never”

Never.  We say this word a lot.  We use it as an expression when we are almost speechless.  Other times we declare something by it’s use, and still some times we use it to command those around us.  We also use the word to share our thoughts about others.  And at times we use the word to predict the future.never

  • “Well, I never!”
  • “I would never do that.”
  • Never do that again!”
  • “She will never change.”
  • “That will never happen.”

It seems rather harmless.  Its just a word we use to help express ourselves.  We use it to correct a situation and to teach our children.  It denotes what we do not want to happen and what we don’t want to change.  But almost every time we use it, whether we realize it or not, we are defining our beliefs.

“Never” Grows Up

“I never want to live in a place with lots of snakes” and “I’ll never make my kids do that” were often mentioned in my childhood conversations.  As a teen I would say, “I never want to go to school after twelfth grade” and “I will never make my teens do this or that.”

Of course as an adult my use of “never” grew up.  Instead of rash promises to never make my children eat their vegetables, I said noble-sounding things like: “We will make sure Justin never has a job that keeps him away from home at night.”  And in the quiet of my own thoughts I said “never” to so many other things – big and small, important and trivial, monumental and mundane.  However, each time I spoke or thought the word “never”, it was like placing a brick on a monument I was unwittingly building to myself.  I was creating a statue that stood to honor my wishes, my desires, my comfort, and my way of thinking.  After years of curating a personal shrine to my ways, God decided it was demolition time.

Not-So-Noble “Never”

In November of 2013 God called our family to make an extensive life transition.  (Another story for another time.)  However, one part of this change involved Justin getting a new job.  After just a couple of days of inquiry, he had two leads.  Both of us thought the first option would be a perfect fit for our family, but the job application never reached our mailbox.   In the meantime God began throwing the doors wide open to the second option.  Everything about the second option was a direct answer to prayer.  Everything!  Except one little detail: Justin had to travel 50% of the time.

Justin and I had agreed that we never wanted him to have a job that took him away from the family on a regular basis.  But God had undeniably opened this door for us.  In one intense moment, God smashed my monument to a million pieces.  The one and only reason we would say “no” to this job offer was because I had previously said “never”.  God convicted my heart that my “never” was not as noble as I wanted it to sound; but rather it was out of fear and an addiction to what made me feel safe.

In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Never Say “Never”

Three years have gone by since my statue was pulled down.  Over this time, God has worked in my thinking to do more than just knock it over; He also ground the pieces into dust!  My eyes have been opened to see that I’m attempting to overthrow His authority when I  say “never” to things that He Himself has not said “never” to through His Word.  I have seen over and over how His ways are so completely greater than my ways, even though at first I was afraid.  He has led me through many lonely nights, lifting my face to look away from my personal shrine of safety, to instead gaze on His gleaming sovereignty.  God has gently taught me to never say “never” to Him, to hold my ways with open hands, and to trust His plans for the life He allows me to live.

Never Stop Growing

While I have shown you the bad side of “never”, there IS a positive use for this word.  We can all say: never stop growing in grace!”

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Look to Christ, my dear friends!  Ask Him to knock down your personal shrine to your own ways and fill you with a growing trust in His ways.  I don’t know exactly what this will look like in your life, but I am confident if you have a saving relationship with Christ, He will do a mighty work in you!

Resources:

I recommend these resources for continued growth in grace:

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