Don’t Mess With God

When the calendar turns over to a new year, I can’t help but remember 1980. I was in bible college, and it was my desire to become more of a man of God. I earnestly prayed a short prayer, something like: “Lord, build my character in this new year.” In the following couple of months, I met a man who inspired me to take a direction I thought God meant me to follow to serve Him. I began falling hard for a girl I would soon want to marry. I was pretty sure V. was the one who would be my life’s companion in the ministry I thought God was preparing me for. It wasn’t to be. V. dropped out of school and went home several states away, leaving me heartbroken, baffled and bitter. Friends lectured me about how badly I was taking it all. It would be another year before God led me to someone who could explain what really happened with V. While it was instructive, it wasn’t very comforting. There’s no doubt about it: God helped build my character.
There are some lessons I want to emphasize here. First, be careful what you pray for. You just might get it. Second, a short, heartfelt prayer is all that’s necessary. No need for long, pious orations. God knows what’s in your heart. Next, be prepared for anything. God may surprise you. It may not be with something unpleasant, like a heartbreak; but God has things in mind for you that you can’t conceive of now. In my situation, God put a screeching halt to my plans with the loudest “No” I’d had from Him up to that point, and I won’t forget it. I’m branded with the emotional scars. Of course, being stubborn as I am, I still tried to pursue a certain path for serving God, and wouldn’t give it up for several years. It just wouldn’t be with V., and it wouldn’t go as I’d expected; but that’s another story.
The greatest lesson I learned from the ordeal with V. is that God is indeed to be feared. He’s not to be messed with. It’s easy to get too familiar and chummy, thinking we know Him well enough that He’ll bless whatever we set out to do for Him; but that’s not the kind of friend He is. When you do business with God, be sure He’ll do business with you. God is holy, powerful, and mysterious; but when you’re hurting, He’s the only one you can turn to for healing and guidance.
Ex. 20:18-20—“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”
Prov. 9:10–“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Heb. 4:12-13–“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
Heb. 12:28-29—“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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