Sometimes it is tough in life when you seem to get hit from every side by hateful people. It is even worse when these people call you “friend”. Betrayal is very difficult to overcome. I have betrayed many during my time on earth and I can honestly say that I am deeply sorry.
I remember a situation where someone I knew was going through a tough time where we worked. This individual was being targeted by others. I don’t remember any of the details. It does not matter what the details are. What is important is our response.
You can get angry. You can get mad. You can cry yourself to sleep day or night or both. That might make you feel better; but, it is not the solution. The solution is between you and God. We need to respond how He would have us to respond. When I am hurt or slandered my first reaction is to lash out and try to hurt the person as much as or more than they have hurt me. This is not God’s plan. Remember, He knows all about it. Because He knows all about it we need to talk to Him.
Look at Joseph’s response to his brothers in Genesis 45:5, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” That is an amazing response! How do you respond to those who hurt you or even worse? Respond God’s way and you will not be the same, for sure.
Last night I was watching the news; as depressing as that is. I saw a story that caught my attention. It was a story about infertility. It caught my attention because a Pastor I know from another state is going to be a father. His wife is 51 years old and he is 65 years old. Yes, when their child turns 18 he will be a whopping 83 years old. Well…
I thought about how this child; just like all other children, is a gift from God. This Pastor even referred to himself in the context of Abraham and Sarah. Thankfully he is in good spirits about it.
I thought about “A Gift From God” and this pastoral family now expecting. Some in our world would see this as a set back or an interruption to their life. Not this family. They are taking it in stride like they should. They see it as God sees the child. A gift.
I thought about the promise God made to Abraham. Look at Genesis 17:5, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” That is a promise from God. “a father to many nations have I made thee.” This is a fact. Now, we can look back and see God bring this to pass. Abraham submitted to God’s plan for the most part until he and Sarah stepped out of God’s plan and then Ishmael was born. For the most part Abraham’s response was of faith and God blessed him with a tremendous gift.
Sarah’s response was a little different. Look at Genesis 18:12, “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” No, I am not sharing this to knock or beat up on Sarah. I am simply point out the difference in their responses to the promises of God and His gift to them.
So how do you respond to the gift of God? We need to respond in faith and thanksgiving. I thank God for the gifts He has given to me and my family. Yes, even those gifts we did not really think we wanted or needed.
Yesterday I had the privilege of working on the farm all day. I was in the field running the tractor and chisel plow. It was so much fun. One thing I noticed all day was the sheer power that tractor has. I was running 6 1/2 miles per hour and it was nothing to that machine. As night came on the ground got moist and I could tell that it was getting slightly more difficult. All in all this was no problem for this green machine.
As I was thinking about the response of the tractor I also thought about another response. That is the response of Mary when she found out she would be the chosen vessel to birth Messiah into this world. She could have responded in many different ways.
I love her response in Luke 1:38, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” She responded in humility and submission.
Today is Sunday. We often call today “The LORD’S Day”. Is it really? Do we observe it as He would have us to observe it?
More importantly, is today a day that we set aside for the LORD? It should be. We should make a priority of going to His house (Church), His Word (the Bible), His people, His passion. The list could go on.
My point today is are we motivated by what motivates Jesus?
The other day I had the opportunity to teach Sunday School. I shared about the storms of life. I also shared how we should respond to these storms. So many people do not respond in the right way to storms and that makes for a disaster.
Our response can make or break us. Most of the time we respond by flying off the handle or shooting from the hip. I know that there are situations in life that do not allow for time to contemplate a response. The thing is that we need to pre-program ourselves to respond in a way consistent with the Word of God. This is easily said; but, sometimes it is not so easily done. This takes time and effort. We live in an instant society and things come instantly so we think everything should be this way.
Nehemiah was delivered terrible news; but, responded in a way that you and I need to take note of and put into practice. Look at Nehemiah 1:3-4, “And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,”. This is a lost art in our day. God help us!