What plotting, pushing, & striving reveal regarding our trust

Quote from Max Lucado on mint background.

Our response to setbacks, challenges, and attacks reveal how well we know and how deeply we trust Christ. When others come against us, do we truly believe He’s our defender? When someone or something threatens our job, will we trust He’s our provider? And what about when our boss gives someone else that promotion we’ve worked tirelessly for, the one we’re certain will catapult our dreams? 

Will we rest and wait on God or clench our fists and fight for “what’s ours”?

Years ago, I sensed God calling me into greater ministry, but I didn’t receive much more information than that. Unfortunately, instead of patiently waiting for His revelation, I began planning and plotting my way. I determined precisely where I needed to go and what steps I needed to take in order to get there. And when doors remained closed all around me? I pushed and shoved my way into full-on striving mode. As a result, what God had intended to bring me deep joy and fulfilment became ugly and exhausting in so many ways. 

We cannot strive and yield, and when we’re not yielded, we’re far less apt to hear God’s voice and experience His power in and through us. What’s more, our actions reveal places of doubt; areas in our heart where we haven’t given God full control.  

At the time, I felt certain I battled against others—those I thought were holding me back. But I was actually opposing all-powerful, all-knowing God. Through my behavior, I was declaring Him false and unfaithful. 

When, in stress and angst, I fought for a certain opportunity that perpetually seemed out of reach, I demonstrated that I didn’t truly believe in the goodness, wisdom, and power of God. Because if I had, I would’ve rested in Him, finding joy in that season, trusting my Savior to lead me, always toward His very best.

Trusting that He truly knew what that best was and had the power to bring His good and pleasing, soul-fulfilling will to pass. 

This seems to be the lesson He taught Miriam, a woman chosen by Him to help lead the Israelite nation. Initially, she served God and her people with joy. After God conquered her people’s enemies in Exodus 15, she “took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced” (v.20). Leading them in song, she became the first worship leader and also the first female prophet mentioned in Scripture.

National leader.

Worship leader.

Woman who spoke God’s Words to His’s people.

What influence she held! I imagine she felt incredible joy to be used by Him during such a pivotal and celebratory time in history. 

But then time dragged on and she became discontent with her role and her younger brother’s leadership. Perhaps she didn’t always agree with his decisions. Maybe she doubted whether or not he consistently heard from God. And as the oldest sibling, she might have harbored seeds of resentment that eventually began to bloom into rebellion. 

Whatever the cause, she grew dissatisfied with her God-assigned role. 

She might have allowed her growing discontentment to convince her that her position hadn’t in fact been God-assigned, or that God’s assignment wasn’t in fact good and life-giving. That she deserved more. 

She certainly could’ve provided ample reasons as to why. She’d been the one to save her baby brother from death by drowning or crocodile. She’d also spent nearly all her life living in slavery while he enjoyed forty years of luxury in the enemy’s palace. Besides, she was just as much of a prophet as her now grown brother. 

Apparently, she shared her complaints with Aaron, her other sibling, because they fell into cahoots together and said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t He spoken through us, too?” (Num. 11:2). Their words suggest they were contemplating usurping their baby brother’s leadership.

But they couldn’t, because Moses’s authority came from God. And God made it clear, He would not tolerate Miriam’s fight for power. He dealt with her desire to elevate herself, in essence, above the sovereignty of God, by humbling her in a public and shameful way: He gave her leprosy, which caused her to live in quarantine, removed from the camp she’d so desperately wanted to run, for seven days.

Long enough for the truth to sink in: She could not force God’s hand.

Quote pulled from post on mint background.

She could, however, receive joy, fulfillment, and intimacy with Him, not through striving or performing, but through surrendered obedience. 

The same is true for us. Sometimes, when promotions and raises pass us by or sinful humans seem to sabotage or perhaps even take credit for our hard work and success, we forget. 

We forget that God is good. That He sees everything you and I experience and encounter, along with all that’s up ahead. We forget that He has a plan for us, is molding us to fulfill that plan, and has promised to lead us toward His very best. 

For Miriam, that meant serving as a national and influential leader under her younger brother’s authority. For me, that meant repenting of my sin, acknowledging my ignorance, and choosing, anew, to trust and follow my God however and whenever he led. 

What might this mean for you? Is there an area you’ve tried to force? Influence you’ve fought to hold? And if so, what does that say regarding your view of God? 

Yet, the better question is: what might our days, our energy and stress level, look like if we regularly traded our striving for yielding, our discontentment for trust, and our pride for intimacy with the One who gave His life that we might truly live? 

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Make sure to check out the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode:

God’s Promise to Place The Lonely in Families – Ep. 104 Faith Over Fear

Sadly, we live in an increasingly disconnected culture where many people are forced to endure the pain of loneliness. Others, perhaps having felt isolated in the past, have developed a strong fear of loneliness. Still others, due to previous wounds, have come to expect rejection and, out of fear of future hurt, remain in emotional hiding. If any of these scenarios resonate with you, be encouraged: God planted the need for connection deep within the human heart, which means He doesn’t want us to live disconnected and He invites us to trust Him to lead us to those with whom we can feel seen, known, and loved. Find the Ephesians Bible Reading plan at:https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/25255Find Wholly Loved at:https://www.WhollyLoved.comFind out about Wholly Loved’s small groups at:https://whollyloved.com/resources/online-studies/Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion Questions:1. When have you felt unknown and unseen? 2. Consider your typical interactions. Do you tend to feel rejected or accepted? If you feel rejected, how have past hurts impacted this, if at all?3. When have you felt seen and known? 4. How does it feel to know that God cares about your relationships and doesn’t want you to feel alone? 5. If you struggle with loneliness, are there places you can go or clubs you can join in order to build connections? If so, where?6. How would you describe the health of your faith community?7. If you cannot go to people, how can you use technology in order to connect with others? 8. What are some truths you can remind yourself of the next time you feel unvalued and unseen?
  1. God’s Promise to Place The Lonely in Families – Ep. 104
  2. Trusting God’s Promise to Give Us Abundant Life – Ep. 103
  3. Trusting God’s Promise to Give Our Lives Purpose – Ep. 102
  4. Trusting God's Presence to Guide Us – Ep. 101
  5. Trusting God’s Promise to Remain Present – Ep. 100

Check out the latest Your Daily Bible Verse podcast episode:

Living by God's Perfect Guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6) Your Daily Bible Verse

Want to listen without the ads? Become a BibleStudyTools.com PLUS Member today: https://www.biblestudytools.com/subscribe/Meet Our Hosts:Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.comFollow Jennifer:https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/https://www.facebook.com/JenSlattehttps://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/Grace Fox has published hundreds of articles and authored 10 books including the award-winning devotional, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos. She’s a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus. Grace lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, she and her husband celebrate three grown kids and eleven grandchildren.Check out Grace’s newest book, Keeping Hope Alive: https://www.tyndale.com/p/keeping-hope-alive/9781649380517Subscribe to her weekly devotional blog and monthly update on her website: www.gracefox.comFollow Grace:Facebook: www.fb.com/gracefox.authorInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/graceloewenfox/  Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gracefoxauthor
  1. Living by God's Perfect Guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  2. What Does It Mean to Be An Ambassador? (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  3. When God's Revelation Contradicts Our Expectations (Mark 8:31)
  4. Clinging to God (Joshua 23:8)
  5. Jesus' Resolute Love (Luke 9:51)

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