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:

Raising Resilient Kids (With Helen Smallbone) – Ep. 122 Faith Over Fear

If you’re a parent, grandparent, guardian, or in some way involved with raising children in today’s rapidly changing world, you may worry about their ability to stand strong amidst all of life’s impending storms. How can you build within them the character and strength that will allow them not only to survive but to thrive. In this episode, Helen Smallbone, “mum” to 7 creative children, including artists for King and Country and Rebecca St. James, shares ways God used her family’s most challenging circumstances to strengthen their bonds, deepen her children’s faith, and increase their resiliency. (Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Helen at: https://www.instagram.com/helensmallbone/https://www.facebook.com/helenjsmallbonehttps://www.amazon.com/Helen-Smallbone/e/B09M2KKNNPFind the ministry she co-founded at:https://www.accessmore.com/pd/MumLife-Community Resource referenced: Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family Find Jennifer at: https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.comhttps://www.instagram.com/avapennington3/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find 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.What resonated with you most in today’s episode?2.When has God used a time of uncertainty to strengthen your faith?3.In what ways can times of adversity lead to stronger relationships?4.Why might hard work serve as an important element in a child’s growth?5.How can developing and maintaining strong community ties help strengthen your family?6.How can developing and maintaining strong community ties increase your children’s resiliency?7.How readily do you seek God’s guidance for day-to-day struggles?8.How can sheltering our children potentially harm them?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take this week based on what you heard in this podcast episode?
  1. Raising Resilient Kids (With Helen Smallbone) – Ep. 122
  2. Bringing God's Grace to Our Work Place (With Dr. Tim Kimmel) – Ep. 121
  3. Finding Strength through the Holy Spirit (with Max Lucado) – Ep 120
  4. From Insecurity to Godly Confidence (with Amanda Pittman) – Ep 119
  5. Prayers for Hard Times (with Crickett Keeth) – Ep. 118

Check out the latest Your Daily Bible Verse podcast episode:

Breaking Free From Shame (Luke 15:32) 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/gracefoxauthorQUINNISE PETTWAY is a writer, facilitator, Licensed Professional Counselor, wife, and mother whose mission is to help Christians encounter and embrace God as Father and walk boldly as His beloved children. She's the author of A Glimpse of Our Father: Lessons Parenthood Reveals for All of God's Children and hosts a weekly small group called “Gathering For A Glimpse” where she journeys with participants through the book to dive deeper into the heart of our heavenly Father.Follow Quinnise:Website- https://aglimpseofourfather.com/Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/aglimpseofourfatherInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/quinnisepettway/Check out her YouVersion Bible App Devotional Plan (Inspired by full book) A Glimpse of Our Father: A 5-Day Devotional Plan for All of God's Children: http://bible.us/r/82JJOSHUA LILLIE is a passionate follower of Jesus, spreadsheet enthusiast, and lover of all kinds of art and music. Joshua has almost a decade of experience in music ministry, and has served both in house church and megachurch environments in pastoral and administrative roles, eager to see every man, woman, and child increasingly surrender their lives to King Jesus.He currently serves on staff with Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE, and as an ordained minister with the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a global denomination of Jesus-followers making Him known among the nations.
  1. Breaking Free From Shame (Luke 15:32)
  2. The Danger of Unbelief (Deuteronomy 1:21)
  3. God's Heart for His Family (John 17:11)
  4. Our Answer to Fear (Psalm 27:1)
  5. How God Describes Himself (Exodus 34:6-7)

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