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when I don't get my way

Hello there! Pull up a comfy chair and blanky! Join me for a cup of hot caramel cocoa! Its been my favorite kcup lately. So, friend, how well do you do when life isn’t going your way? How do you react when God chooses to deliver in a different way than you would choose? Some people are super chill and go with the flow. How do you just let it slide and ride with it? I am NOT one of those. I respond with irritation and sometimes, just plain anger. I mean, just want my way and I just want God to go along with it.

We have been studying Nebuchadnezzar the past several weeks in life group. Near the end of his life, he ends up looking over his kingdom and no fewer than three palaces, praising himself for his accomplishments, when God drove him away from people, and he fed on grass and grew claws like birds. As a side note, there is a psychological condition known as boanthropy, in which the sufferer believes he or she is part of the cattle family. Let me back up, though!

Why am I bringing up such a random part of the Bible? There is so much good stuff here, let me explain. In Daniel 1, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, “laid siege to Jerusalem” and took over Judah. He had special, strong, capable Israelite young men travel to Babylon to learn the Chaldean language, literature, eat the royal food and drink, and eventually serve in the king’s court. Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, yes the same guys who later end up in a fiery furnace, are part of this group! They (respectfully) stood up to the king, and asked to eat healthful foods instead of what was prepared by the palace. At the end of this test, Daniel and his friends were healthier and in better shape physically than the other men. Daniel was also given the ability to interpret dreams, so his healthful food choices and ability to interpret dreams impressed King Nebuchadnezzar. Later in Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar paid homage to Daniel and gave credit to God.

The very next chapter, Daniel 3, explains how King Nebuchadnezzar began to feel insecure about his position of authority and commanded everyone bow down and worship his gold statue when they hear particular music. The consequence was a fiery death in a furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the same guys who impressed him with their healthful food choices, were taken before him when they refused to worship anything and anyone but the one true God. Needless to say, the king was serious, so they were thrown into the furnace. The king then saw four men in the fire, not burned. When they were allowed out, the did not even smell of fire or ash! This caused Nebuchadnezzar to once again praise the one true God, Who saved the men sentenced to certain death. The king also told everyone to serve the Miraculous Most High God. I might add, the men who served the king and put the three friends in the furnace died due to the heat. These men served as casualties of the king’s disobedience to God, and God’s grace to Nebuchadnezzar. God did not kill the king, but allowed him chances to repent and follow Him. Sometimes when we disobey, we cause casualties as well.

Beginning in Daniel 4:28, Nebuchadnezzar once again starts to feel arrogant and praise all he has and all he has done in his kingdom. Before he finished his self-praise, God sentenced him to 7 years of living with wild animals as a wild animal. This seems harsh, perhaps, however, God’s goodness is seen here too. It is yet another chance for King Nebuchadnezzar to choose to follow God, while God also maintains His power and demonstrates He is the ultimate King. How great that Daniel 4:34, 35 describes Nebuchadnezzar’s praise to God at the end of that time! Instead of praising Daniel’s God, he seems to shift to actually claiming God as his own God. The king’s sanity returned and God reestablished his kingdom. Daniel 4:37, Nebuchadnezzar states, “He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

What stands out to me is God’s grace to the king by allowing another chance to repent and follow, while causing him to lose his kingdom and look like a crazy man! When stuff goes the way I would not choose, I tend to become stubborn and angry. My first response is usually not submission but rebellion because, honestly, I just want what I want. Tough place to be right? When God is correcting me or taking me a different route, or not giving me what I want, I get mad. When I don’t make the grades, get the job, get the guy, or whatever it may be for you, life gets difficult. We get to choose submission or rebellion. I have no idea what Nebuchadnezzar’s thought process was, but we know that we see submission and humility after his stint as a wild animal. Yikes! That sure is humbling. I often have to sit for a while and pout in my annoyance and disappointment, although I know that God’s way is best. I take a while to get there in my mind and my feelings have to catch up later.

What is rocking your world right now? Are you waiting for something or someone? Let us learn to accept God’s grace, correction, and direction. I hate it sometimes, but know His way is always best and He deserves all glory and praise. Accept His strong hand and hold onto it. Enjoy your hot cocoa! Talk soon!



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