Wednesday, February 14, 2024

When It Feels Like God Has Forgotten You

Suggested Reading: Acts 7:23-32

Some of you aren't going to like what I have to say today because you probably don't want to hear it. You see, some of you are in a place you hate. You might be in a place where you are under-appreciated or taken advantage of. You might be in a place where you feel trapped like you will never escape. Maybe where you are right now doesn't fit into the plans you have for your future. But as often as you have prayed for God to move you, you're still there. You are frustrated and angry. You might even be taking it out on the people you love because can't bring yourself to admit that you're angry with God. This is not the way your life is supposed to be! This is not the way things are supposed to go!

If your are in that place today, I want to remind you of the story of Moses, which Stephen summed up nicely for us in Acts chapter 7. Feeling a call on his life to deliver his people from Egyptian slavery, Moses rescued a fellow Israelite by killing the Egyptian who was attacking him. But when Moses realized that his actions were known and at least one Israelite didn't appreciate it, he fled for fear of his life. Eventually, Moses stopped in Midian where he settled down to wait until it was safe. While he was there, he married, had children, and learned how to be a shepherd (something that wouldn't have happened in Egypt since the Egyptians despised shepherds). Finally, forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush (Acts 7:30, NLT).

Moses had been raised as  member of the Egyptian royalty. He accurately experienced the call of God on his life. But then he was "sidetracked" for forty years, trapped, working in a profession he had been taught to despise, and growing old. But during that time Moses started a family, matured, and learned lessons about wandering around in the wilderness that he would desperately need down the road. But at the time, Moses didn't know what God was going to do. He didn't know that God was training him to help a massive group of people survive in the wilderness. He didn't know that God was stripping away all of the habits and bad attitudes he had picked up from the Egyptians who raised him. But somewhere along the way, he made the best of it, by starting a family and living the life God had given him.

If you feel like you are trapped, like you know what God has called you to but you don't seem to be moving in that direction, like you are meant for something more than what you are doing right now, you have a choice to make. You can either allow your frustration and bitterness to grow inside you, believing that you are being wronged, or you can choose to trust that God knows what he is doing and has placed you where you are for a reason. Maybe that person who is mistreating you is someone whom God wants to use to change the world, and God has placed you there to win them to Christ. Maybe God needs you to learn some important lessons that you can only learn where you are right now, even if you can't imagine what those lessons could possibly be. Maybe God is using this time to strip away some of the bad habits or attitudes you have picked up because they will hinder your effectiveness when you finally get to the role God has called you to.

So what are you going to do? Are you going to continue to look at the place where God has set you as a frustration and an obstacle? Or will you choose to look at it as God's perfect place for you right now, even if it doesn't feel that way? Will you choose to look for the lessons God wants you to learn and make the most of this place? Or will you wallow in self-pity, frustration and anger? If you really trust that God is in control, there really is only one option.

Only Casting Out the Annoying Demons

Suggested Reading: Acts 16:16-34 There is a sentence in Acts 16 that has always bugged me. Paul and Silas were in Philippi as missionari...