You, who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God. 1 Peter 2:19-20
If you are currently in a situation that is unbearable, in many ways, I can promise that God is trying to teach you something.
At my age I have learned lessons, and most of them I learned the hard way. There are times when I feel the urge to blog about cooking, or politics, or decorating but God has had to sit me down and teach me that my mission is to help other people learn, hopefully a whole lot earlier, how to avoid the painful training situations I have endured.
I think one thing I wish I could have learned earlier is that the way we respond to situations is a training ground. If we do not learn the lesson that God is trying to teach us we end up repeating the same situation over and over. One day we begin to see a pattern. It is at that time that we usually seek God’s help. We become sick and tired of going around in circles and getting nowhere and so we begin to see that the problem lies within us and we want change.
I think that God is very interested in our attitudes. If we are suffering can we quit complaining, grumbling and feeling sorry for ourselves? So many times we become addicted to bad attitudes and self-pity. It took me forever to understand that grumbling does not please God and I endured one bad situation after another until I realized that I needed to learn to endure, patiently, with a good attitude no matter what the circumstances were. In Hebrews 12:2 we read the following;
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Have you ever done a study regarding people in the bible and how they handled bad situations, and suffering? If you have not I suggest a study of the characters in the Old Testament.
I often think of the patient suffering of Joseph who was terribly mistreated by his brothers. Just to refresh your memory they sold him into slavery and then told their father a wild animal had killed him. Meanwhile a wealthy man named Potiphar, who took him into his home as a slave, purchased him.
Joseph was promoted from one place in the palace to another and one unjust thing after another happened to him. Yet we notice he never complained, and because he kept a great attitude in suffering, God eventually delivered and promoted him.
On the other hand we have read of the stories of the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. They began to complain and in doing so, continually, they ended up spending forty years in the wilderness.
In every story I read it appeared to me that God valued good and faithful attitudes in the midst of suffering.
I noticed, in my own life, that my complaints started in my mind. I would think of one unjust treatment or the other, and then sooner or later with my big mouth I started complaining out loud.
Finally, God began to show me examples of my poor attitude. It seemed to God, and to me, that I was never happy with what I had for very long before I started complaining.
For instance, I would pray for a better job and better pay. Once I got a better job with better pay I started complaining about all the hours I was having to work, ect. I would pray for a larger house and then when I got a larger house I complained about having to clean it all the time.
Finally, in frustration over my ingratitude, God began to use circumstances to strip me of one blessing and then another. While praying and seeking God over what was going on in my life, I began to realize that I only complained and hardly ever thanked God for my blessings.
In the midst of learning this lesson I began to pray for something else I thought I needed to have. I was praying one day, when as clear as a bell, God spoke the following to me, “Why should I bless you with anything more, when you are never thankful for what you have?”
That hit home. I began to listen to the words coming out of my mouth and the complaining that was just below the surface of my words.
Look around you right now! You may think you have nothing but so many people in other circumstances would be thrilled to have what you have.
God doesn’t want us to complain and fret. He wants us to pray and give thanks. In Philippians 4:6 we read this:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” The Message bible.
If we are not in an “attitude of gratitude” our prayers are going to fall on deaf ears with God. It’s a lot like it is with our own children. If we go into a store with them and they are well behaved and happy we are pleased to reward them with a treat. On the other hand if we take them into a store and they throw themselves down on the floor and raise Holy Hannah we are not going to be inclined to do much more then punish them.
Tomorrow is a new day. We can start the day by just being happy we are breathing and can get out of bed. A lot of folks didn’t. Then we can take it from there and find so many more things during the day to praise God for.
If you are not going forward towards your promised land I urge you to rethink your attitude. When our attitudes change so does God’s mind. We can be assured that with the right attitude, especially in times of suffering, we can touch the heart of Daddy God.
Once our attitudes line up with God’s will for our lives, it is only a matter of waiting patiently and looking expectantly for the doors to open in front of us.
In His Unconditional Love,