Have you ever been disappointed by family or friends? Do you have someone in your life who just isn’t doing the best that you know they can? Are you burdened by wanting to guide them down an easier path?
I tend to carry heavy loads on behalf of these people. I get frustrated when they won’t heed my advice. After all, I have walked the path already. I’ve learned how to rely on God and I’m willing to share shortcuts. Why won’t these people listen to me? Why do they make things so difficult?
Recently, I found myself becoming bitter because of this disappointment. I worried over the situation, letting my negative feelings fester, until I came to the point of proclaiming, “I am done with them.” Then I quietly said, “God, they’re in Your hands. I give up.” God immediately replied, “You disappoint me every day, but I am not done with you. …and it never really was in your hands.” Some of you may think that is a harsh response but I would disagree. Although God disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:6), I knew this was the Father’s loving way of reminding His daughter that we are ALL sinners, and that many of us try too often to do His job. I was quite guilty of both at that very moment.
For one, getting angry with those who disappoint me – calling them stubborn, or uncooperative, or rude – isn’t in the best interest of my own Christian walk. Although it is necessary at times to be salt of the earth, it is just as important to be the light. (Matthew 5:13-16) Having just admitted that I have traveled the same path, I am no better than anyone else. Instead, this is my time to shine and show how Jesus didn’t give up on me. He didn’t call me ugly names and tell me He was done when I wouldn’t listen to Him. He patiently walked beside me while I stumbled my way around off-course, leading me back on the right track. No matter how disappointed I get, I have to remember to share His love. In doing so, those who are stumbling now will soon realize that Jesus is walking with them too.
1 Peter 5:6-7 reads, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Yes, ALL of your anxiety… not just some. I have to stop trying to handle things for God. He doesn’t need my help! Some people need to stumble down a difficult path in order to come to these realization on their own. Not everyone learns the same way. Some can listen and get it. Others, like myself, have to try and fail before we understand. I guarantee someone had a burden of sharing shortcuts with me, but I was too stubborn and uncooperative to listen. It was through my disappointment and failures that I learned to rely on the Lord and trust His full control. He lifted me in due time – His time – and I have to believe that He will lift up those who disappoint me too.
Are there really shortcuts in life anyway? I am beginning to see that there aren’t. Well, none with positive outcomes. I want to help people, maybe you do too, but doing things for them can actually make matters worse. Instead of wanting to tell them the easy way out, we may need to show them through the hard times. We should focus on being the lantern to God’s light and find comfort in knowing the Lord will bring them to the same place of understanding that we, ourselves, have been brought to by Him.