The definition of insanity is often quoted as “doing the same thing but expecting a different result” (author unknown). My boys have this thing, where as soon as they sit on a bed or couch, they have to remove the throw pillows, dumping them on the floor. Every night before bed, I pick up these pillows and question my sanity, because I’m expecting, one day, they might actually stay there. I can’t seem to learn my lesson nor teach them how to pick up after themselves.
It’s frustrating feeling like something or someone is thwarting your progress toward a goal. While my pillow example is mild, I fought for years against rejection and harsh criticism of my manuscripts, second-guessing if God truly wanted me to write. The desire was there, but how many slammed doors could I run into without suffering an emotional concussion? God, however, gave me just enough encouragement when I needed it to keep going.
More recently, I’ve watched the stock market tank with a sinking feeling and wondered what that means for all of our hard-earned savings. I’ve seen the frustration of a friend who had to cancel the wedding she spent almost a year planning, and the despair of others friends who’ve been laid off from the job they’d worked so hard to hold.
It’s difficult not to feel like the once Olympic-headed, ice skater, Nancy Kerrigan, bludgeoned in the knee and screaming, “Why? Why?” Instead, we’re asking, why hasn’t God intervened?
Do not be discouraged. God hasn’t fallen off the throne.
Take the example of Isaac, son of Abraham, in the story from Genesis 26. He’d grown wealthy and had an abundant flock of sheep, servants, and wells for water that were the envy of the Philistines. So much so that the Philistine king, Abimelek, out of jealousy, ordered Isaac’s wells to be filled with dirt and exiled Isaac and his family. While Isaac was running away from the despotic ruler, a drought came. He dug a well and struck water, but the other herders in the land saw it and argued the freshwater was theirs. God told Isaac to dig another, but the herders quarreled over that one, too. So, Isaac digs another well (mind you this is not an easy task in the desert during a drought), and thankfully, this time, no one thwarts his efforts.
However, Abimelek strolls into town. I imagine it as an old western standoff, eyes narrowing fingers trigger ready as Isaac confronts the king. Isaac says, “Why have you come? Since you were hostile to me and sent me away.” Abimelek raises his hands in surrender because he’s there to make a peace treaty. He’d been watching, and every time they filled or claimed one of Isaac’s wells, Isaac would build a better one. The despotic ruler saw how God favored Isaac, and he wanted in on it too.
It’s okay to be frustrated and question why, but know God has a bigger plan. He’ll use our hardships as a way to reveal His glory to others whose hearts have hardened. God promises, in Philippians 4:19, that He will supply all of our need according to His glory in Christ Jesus.
Need some more examples?
-Elisha has a widow pour oil from a small jar into gathered empty bottles and the oil doesn’t run out until there’s not a single bottle left to be filled (2 Kings 4:1-7).
-Jesus fed a group of thousand with the fishes and loaves that multiplied (John 6:1-14).
-Simon Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Jesus says to throw the nets out again. This time they caught so many fish that the nets began to break (Luke 5:1-11).
-The officials of Capernaum were collecting a temple tax. Peter felt in his pockets and came up empty. Jesus told Peter to cast out a hook, open the mouth of the first fish he caught, and take out the gold coin. Sure enough, the coin was enough to pay the tax bill (Matthew 17:24-27).
Have faith. We are still blessed. Remember, “God’s favor lasts for a lifetime, weeping may endure for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).”
God is good, and He is still the God of plenty.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:31-34
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