Imagine that you have something that absolutely must get done today. If you don’t get it done, your life is going to be really difficult. Or you’ll lose someone’s respect. Or you’ll disappoint someone you shouldn’t. So you simply MUST get this item checked off your to do list.
The one problem? You can’t finish it without somebody else’s help. And it doesn’t matter to them as much as it matters to you.
Have you ever been there? Where you can’t get something done because someone else is holding up the process? Have you ever been in the situation where your work is delayed—or even canceled—because someone further up the chain of command doesn’t have time for it?
It’s hard enough to handle when it’s your peers holding up the process. What happens when it’s your boss?
Today’s verses are Romans 13:1-5.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
I’ve been in a lot of frustrating situations where my projects or my goals were held up because I couldn’t get the other project members to do their part. And I have to struggle with my attitude whenever it happens because usually the blame falls back on the person in charge of the project—me. And it’s really easy to get irritated because life isn’t always fair.
And that’s true with my relationship with God too. There have been so many times I’ve identified things I wanted to do, ministries I wanted to be involved in, trips I’ve wanted to take, etc. But God said no. Or He set life up so that it would never work out. Talk about not fair.
But what I’ve learned about following God is that sometimes He doesn’t let us do things because He’s protecting us. Sometimes we want to run ahead and do things our own way instead of waiting for Him, and getting ahead of God is never a good idea. No, it’s not the unforgiveable sin, but it will make more trouble for you in the long run. It’s always better to wait on God than to spend a few extra years wandering in a wilderness of your own making.
But what about with work projects? What about bosses who don’t support you? What about those situations?
Well, you do know that authority comes from God, right? All authority in our lives comes from Him, and all authority is there for a reason. Whether it’s your parents, your local legislators, your boss, all the way up to the president, God installs the leaders He wants for the times we’re in. And going against them is tantamount to going against God (unless those leaders are ordering you to go against God anyway).
So if your boss is making your project late, chill out. Maybe it’s not time yet. Maybe pushing to get it out will backfire. Maybe God is keeping that project delayed for a reason. God’s not too big to care about your everyday issues.
God has a reason for everything He does (or doesn’t do). There are no accidents in life, and God plays a role in every area of our existence. So if your project is late (even though it’s not your fault) or if you let someone down (even though it’s not your fault), God has a reason for it. God can move your boss to work on your project if He wants. God can convince the people you live with and work with and serve with to get busy. If He wants to do that, there’s nothing and no one who can stop Him.
He can do it if He wants to. Just like He doesn’t have to do it if He doesn’t.
So when you’re running late on something and you’ve done nothing to cause it, take a moment and stop to breathe and recognize that God isn’t punishing you. On the contrary, He may be saving you trouble in the future.
So don’t push and nag and make trouble. Don’t gripe and complain and whine. Don’t attack your coworkers or your boss. And don’t, don’t, don’t blame it on God. You don’t know. He might have a huge plan for that canceled project that you don’t know anything about yet.
You just be the person you’re supposed to be. You maintain your testimony. You be steady in your pursuit of God and your lifestyle as a Christ follower. Live above reproach.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have trouble. That just means when people try to find something you’ve done wrong, the only fault they’ll find in you is virtue.
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