Forgetting the house of bondage

Deuteronomy 6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

There was a time when I had forgotten whom delivered me from the “house of bondage.” My first two years of college were difficult because in high school I had neglected my studies. For two years I somehow kept my GPA above 2.0, but I was woefully unprepared for the rigors of mechanical engineering and was thoroughly frustrated with my lack of academic success. At this time I was not a Christian, but I had some inherent belief in God. One night, in my frustration, I got on my knees and prayed that God would help me become a better student. And God helped me – I went from a mediocre student to a straight A student, graduated with honors, and ultimately earned a masters degree in computer science. God had delivered me from my “house of bondage.”

The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics)

Even though I became a Christian through this process, in some ways I had forgotten who had delivered me. After graduating, I went on to become the vice president of engineering at a small software company. With thirty five engineers working under me, I was a leader of men. There was no job my team and I could not accomplish, but always in my own power and in my own way. It didn’t last. I got sick and had to step down from my executive position – no more authority, no more salary. From a worldly perspective, I went from having no cares to having only cares – cares about my health; cares about my provision.

Sometimes God gives us difficult things to mold our character. Isaiah 64:8, But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. I am still sick; I still can’t work; but I’m a better husband, father, and Christian than I was before my illness. The New Testament says that we can do nothing apart from Christ. John 15:5, I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Before I got sick, those were just empty words. I was young, strong, and bright, and I could do plenty in my own power. Now, apart from the mercy of God, literally I can do nothing. Lesson learned.