What did I do to deserve this? Why did I have to go through this? Am I worth anything? Why do bad things always happen to me? God, what is your purpose in this?
Sound familiar? There are many times when I’m going through a particularly rough patch when I throw my hands up, look up at the ceiling and yell “WHY?!” or “You’re not helping!” (My husband probably thinks I’m yelling at him when I do it.) When, in my silent prayers, I just ask over and over “Why? Why God?” and desperately seek for wisdom to show me what it is He is obviously trying to teach me.
Most of the time it’s as simple as God wanted me to spend some time with Him. He missed me. I hadn’t been as close and intentional with him lately and so he throws a few marbles on the floor so that I need to grab on to him to steady myself again. There are the times, however, when I know he’s trying to teach me something. Like these past few months he has been nudging things in my direction. Things that I get automatically defensive about and I can hear Him coaxing me to fight the urges to fight. To keep the walls down and be who I really am.
One lesson in particular that has been hard in coming, and still hasn’t been solidified (I don’t have my stamp of approval and sheep skin yet), is all these things…they didn’t happen TO me. They happened FOR me. As crappy and scary and painful and just down right sick and twisted as some experiences have been…they happened for me.
It finally got through to me the other night during an argument when it was repeatedly pointed out to me that I was seeing the sequence of events that we were arguing about all wrong and that I was the one in the wrong. That I had played the victim card WAY out of turn and that those things did not happen to me. I was making a mountain out of a mole hill using dry sand and it just kept sliding back down towards me each time I tried to push my point back up to the top of the hill.
My whole life I have felt like my opinion and my feelings didn’t matter much. That people just weren’t interested in me enough. That I just wasn’t special and I was only here to be used by others. So, to counter that I learned how to be pushy and outspoken and just down right mean if I had to be. I used to brag on it. I used to find my direct way of speaking as an asset. That I wasn’t going to sugar coat anything if it was something that I felt very strongly about. Funny thing is, my whole life I’ve envied the people who could always keep their cool and be gentle in their approach to tough situations and troublesome people. Why in the world did I not try to be like them instead?!? Well, I did…but only when things were going my way.
Doesn’t sound so nice, huh? I don’t like the fact that God used me to hurt others in order to get them to seek Him. I don’t like thinking that I was so awful to someone that the only answer they had to get away from me was to pray in silence for help. Help to do away with me. Help to change me. Help to make their life easier because I was making it miserable. Whatever the case may be, I was that person’s struggle. It’s a pretty humbling thought when it takes hold of you. When you own up to the part you played in the life you have now. It’s also a very prideful thought!
The story of Nebuchadnezzar comes to mind when I think on these things. Here we had a very prideful king who expected everyone to do what he wished, when he wished, and if someone didn’t, they felt his wrath. Like literally felt it…he threw them into a fiery pit! (Sound a bit like satan and his fiery pit?) Well, one day these 3 Jews stood up to the king and said no. No, we will not bow down and worship this enormous gold statue you made of yourself, because we worship one thing and that’s God. Well, into the fiery pit they went! For extra measure the king had the furnace cranked to full blast.
Now, these 3 Jews had a choice to make. They could either cave in and bow down to the king, they could wallow in despair and allow satan to attack their spirits, they could fight to get away and risk an even worse torture, or they could pray and have faith in God’s goodness. They chose the latter, and what happened? They came out of the pit untouched! They didn’t even SMELL like they had been near a birthday candle, much less in the midst of a bonfire!
The result of this was ol’ Nebuchadnezzar saw the evil he had done, realized that his ways were NOT always what was right and that he too wanted to worship God rather than himself. His pride finally got kicked hard enough that he woke up. However, he hadn’t finished learning his lesson yet. Yes, he learned to turn to God and that he needed to seek God in all that he did. However, he was still prideful. He still sought to make his kingdom great and to take the credit for himself. He felt he was doing it for good and that it would please God that he made a great and bountiful kingdom. The same way that I will do my best to walk closely with God and change certain things about myself, however the pride is still there.
Well, because the king still held on to his pride, God said enough is enough. The king lost everything and he was cast out to live in the wilderness. He ate grass, looked like a wild man, slept in the fields and was probably completely alone. Then, at the end of his life in the wilderness he “got it.” He understood what it was that God was trying to teach him. He had to understand that it is ALL about God and not him. That nothing he does should be for the praise and glory of his own name, but for the glory of God! At the moment that Nebuchadnezzar realized this and declared the might and glory of God, he was returned to his kingdom. He praised God in all that he did from there on out and knew that even something as stubborn as pride, God can and will find a way to erase it from your life! He will use whatever means to get you to that point. Whether it be direct actions from Him, actions of others, failed good deeds, or your own pride to get you to understand that all of the glory belongs to God and you MUST live your life as such.
My pride has been my downfall many many times. God is helping me to see that and I am trying my best to remain open to the lessons He’s trying to teach me. The biggest one is that I can’t have it my way. It HAS to be His way!Tags: Downfall, Glory, God, His way, Pride
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