I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33(AMP)
Have you ever heard yourself whining to God?
I have. And I will just be very authentic and share that my whining has often accompanied by crocodile tears and a heaping dose of self pity.
These events usually unfold in unison within the midst of a ridiculous spiritual temper tantrum. Instead of holding my hands up in praise I hang them in frustration and cry out “really God?!”
Within this three syllable uttered statement of impudent inquiry usually resides one of the following sentiments…”I don’t understand,” “this isn’t fair,!”…“I’m angry… sad… wounded…disappointed…and I really just don’t want to have to go through this any longer so could you just hurry up and rescue me….um…please?!”
My whining has often been the direct result of instances when I have felt like I was encountering unfair opposition. I wanted justice, I wanted fairness, I only wanted what was right.
I can recall particularly frustrating times when things did not turn out the way I thought they should even though I had done all the “right” things. Times when I had taken the “high road” even when that was the hard road to take; times when I felt like I was doing everything I knew to honor God in my life and it still didn’t look like it mattered because things were not going my way….the way I thought that they should.
And then of course there are the people related issues. Times when my whining was a result of others not treating me the way I thought they ought to, not responding the way I wanted them to, and not acting the way they were….suppose to.
God interrupted one of those very temper tantrums described above last week as He reminded me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego whose story can be found within the third chapter of the book of Daniel.
These were men of integrity and honor who had served the LORD and been given favor in the sight of the King. They had proven themselves trustworthy and had been given positions of authority within the kingdom.
They were faced with a hard choice; A choice which potentially had dire consequences directly attached. Either worship the golden idol, or be thrown into the fiery furnace.
Their response to this ultimatum is found in Daniel 3:17, 18:
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
The king got angry, the fire was stoked (7 times hotter than usual), the three men were bound and then cast into the fire.
Well…you know the rest of the story. The King saw four men in the fire instead of three and called them back out of the fire. Daniel 3:27-29
And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered around together and saw these men–that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, and language that speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses be made a dunghill, for there is no other God who can deliver in this way!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego turned what could have been a “Really God?” moment into a REALLY GOD moment.
These men didn’t waver…they didn’t even whine. Instead, they trusted God-even unto death-and chose to stand firm upon the foundation of faith within their hearts in the midst of difficult, unfair, unwarranted opposition. And in this, the LORD was able to reveal to the nations who He was.
We too have the opportunity to respond properly in our “Really God?” moments and watch and see how the Lord will turn it into a “Really God!” moment. The key lies within our choice of response to opposition that we face.
Abba Father, as I am faced with opposition help me to trust, believe and rely upon you. Father, help me to be a testimony to you always, no matter what, in all that I say and do. I thank you that as I lay down my expectations of “should” and “suppose to” that I am able to pick up the truth that I am your daughter, you love me beyond measure, and I am ever within your sight as you care for all that concerns me.