There are two things about human nature that are universal. We want any pain to cease immediately. And if we do something right, we want to be rewarded immediately
After all, that’s how we train our animals. Do this and there is immediate gratification.
In our dogs’ case, that equals food, pleasure.
When it comes to our piety, our faith & devotion, we tend to feel as if we should get some kind of hall pass on pain. After all, doesn’t God want us to be happy? I want my pets to be happy. But then I’m not trying to build character into my dogs.
Can you imagine a world in which God rewarded piety immediately? Sports would be non-existent. Because you can’t have two winners at the end of a game. What if both teams held a Bible study and prayed before a game? God would be in a pickle.
Ultimately we would become selfish and slaves to all of our prurient interests.
But it’s still a hard concept to shake. When God sets out to be build character in us, He includes suffering.
To be clear there is nothing wrong with asking God to remove the pain in your life. And we should expect God to bless our spirituality. That is pretty much the theme of Proverbs.
Let’s just not put God on a timetable. Perhaps a better solution is to make Proverbs 3:5-6 a daily reality:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths (ESV).
Let’s trust God to decide when it’s time to reward our piety.
Following the interview, guess what? He had to wait. Waiting turned into anxiety and worrying.
Now his question:
All I’m doing is sitting around worrying. What do I do about that?
No doubt we all have our questions, our unanswerable questions.
What if I don’t get the job?
Will my kids ever get on track?
Can my marriage survive?
Now let me be candid. I would love to have the answers at my fingertips. But if I did, I would most likely simply be blowing smoke.
I’m not sure why Moses had to herd sheep for forty years.
Why did God allow Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den because he faithfully prayed three times a day?
Life is filled with uncertainty and we don’t always get the phone call we wanted. Wouldn’t we all like to have everything work out all the time?
Here is what we can do. This comes from one of Jesus’ talks on worry. Actually it seems like He is having a case of ADD. In Matthew 6 verse 25 Jesus essentially tells us that we must trust in the providence of God.
And in the middle of His talk, He says, “Look at the birds…” Sounds like something we would say when we get distracted. But Jesus was not distracted. He simply wants us to realize that if God is concerned about these small creatures how much more does He love and care for us.
The birds don’t just fly around and expect food to magically appear in their nests. They do their part. But they are not worrying about their sustenance.
So how do we overcome our anxiety? Simple, but not easy.
Accept that you have done all you can do. You have gone through the interview. You have prayed about the situation. You took the necessary steps.
Believe that God has your best interests in mind. Our desires are not always the best.
Commit it all to the Lord.
With that said, does that mean the anxiety will leave? Sometimes no, because we allow uncertainty to make us anxious.
Perhaps the best way to sum it up is like Jesus did. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Devotion to God is a prerequisite for the peace that we long for in the midst of uncertainty.
Put God first and you will have no reason to worry.
Why worry when you can trust God?