The Critical Difference Between Disciples and Wannabes.
When life gets tough we usually react one of two ways. We either blame God for our troubles and complain and whine to anyone who will listen to us (we want sympathy and we want attention to minimize our hurt,) or we get determined to find God in our situation.
The first approach of blaming God is generally our default. We feel there is an unwritten agreement between God and us which requires him to protect us and get us out of trouble quickly. If he fails to rescue us on our schedule we move towards tantrum territory and start spreading the word about our need. We are prepared to escalate our complaint as far as possible and to gather the support of as many people as possible. We want them to agree that we are in the right and to take our side so God will finally come through for us. It’s a rocky road that brings out the worst in us and reveals that our faith is stunted and impotent.
There’s a better way. Better is not necessarily the same as easy; better is about being more effective, it’s about real solutions.
David was the great Israelite king whom God favored. He was described as being a man with a heart like God’s – someone who was able to connect with God and who related to the things God saw as being important. You’d think that he had an easy run since he was the favored king, what more could he need? Apparently not even favored people like David escape problems, but their reaction is different from other people.. What makes the difference is what such people do when they are faced with a big-time problem.
David’s son had big ideas which involved making himself king. This was a tad difficult since he didn’t want to wait until David died so he launched a popularity campaign to get people warmed up to the idea that he would be a better king than his dad. David had grown slack about keeping in touch with his people and Absalom exploited the opportunity to build good will with the people. One thing led to another until Absalom was able to launch a full-scale revolt and David was forced to flee. This scenario is a full-on study of leadership and failure in ministry but we won’t head there in this post since our interest is in the critical response of David – his attitude. What he did points us to the most productive response we can make when things don’t go as we expected or wanted them to.
It’s not about rights, it’s about relationship
Privilege is not in having tons of stuff, it’s in the quality of our relationship with God.
Bad stuff happens to everyone but it’s just stuff which will soon pass; our attitude in facing it is the big issue.
David didn’t blame others and he caught some nasty behavior from people he thought he could trust. You can read about it in 2 Samuel 15. It was a tough experience. God had made him king so how come his very purpose in life was being challenged? Be sure, David had more questions than he had answers, but instead of letting events drive him away from God, he used them to drive him towards God – the opposite of our normal default.
O God, you are my God: I will earnestly seek you;
My soul thirsts for you, my body yearns for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have gazed on you in the sanctuary,
seeing your power and your glory.
Because your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise you.
In this way I will bless you as long as I live;
I will reach out to your name.
My soul is satisfied as if I have received the richest of food,
And my mouth declares your praises with joyful lips.
When I am in my bed, I meditate on you all through the night,
For you have been my help and, under the protection of your wing, I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me up.
In a really rough spot a few years earlier he’d said something similar:
I will extol the Lord at all times;
I shall continually talk about his greatness.
My soul will boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear me and rejoice.
Magnify God with me, join me in extolling his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
He delivered me from everything I was afraid of.
The ones who look to him are radiant,
And they will never be shame-faced.
This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him;
And he saved him from all of his troubles.
The angel of the Lord camps around the people who fear him,
And he delivers them.
So taste and see for yourself that the Lord is good,
Discover how blessed the person is who takes refuge in him.
It’s the mark of a disciple: relationship with God. Problems push us to develop that relationship. When things get tough, we do best by putting out focus on God and thinking about him instead of worrying about the problems. Our faith grows as he brings us through the testing times.
Posted on May 28, 2012, in Active faith, Relationships and tagged Absalom, book of Samuel, David, God, heart like God's, life-focus, overcoming problems, Psalm 63, seeking God. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.