King David was forced to flee from his home and his position when his son, Absalom, conspired against him to take away the throne. As he and his army fled the country, a man named Shimei began to curse David and throw dirt and stones at him. Immediately, one of David's officers asked for permission to strike the man dead, but the king forbid him to do so. David said: "Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." (2 Samuel 16:11-12 NIV) A lesser man would have seen this incident as an opportunity for revenge. Instead, David saw it as a test that he needed to pass - a test that could lead to future blessings and rewards.
The Lord brought this passage to mind recently when I experienced a hurtful situation involving one of my neighbors. Over the years, she had gone through numerous troubles and trials, and I had always done my best to comfort and counsel her. When the perfect opportunity arose for her to be a blessing to me in a time of need, she thoughtlessly let it pass by. At first, I was terribly hurt and bewildered. Then I became angry and indignant. My husband, Joe, was even madder than I was. He threatened to confront our neighbor, and to rebuke her for what he viewed as her unjust treatment of me. As I sought the Lord in prayer, He reminded me of King David's experience, and I asked my husband to leave our neighbor alone, believing in my heart that God was using the incident to test me. I told the Lord that I forgave my neighbor, and I asked Him to forgive her, too.
I took great comfort in David's words - "it may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." David knew that God was keenly aware of his hurt and humiliation, and he fully expected the Lord to reward him for responding to it in a righteous way. David's behavior was proof that his trust in God to be his vindicator was genuine. The Bible reveals that David passed the test, and the Lord eventually restored his kingdom and his throne.
After I made the decision to walk in forgiveness, God revealed to me that my neighbor missed out on a tremendous blessing that day. She failed to bless someone the Lord had placed in her path, who had a need she could have easily met. Suddenly, I felt sorry for this woman. And I thought about all the times I must have forfeited blessings myself, when I neglected to take advantage of the opportunities that God brought my way.
I have the privilege of ministering to the masses today, and I don't believe for a minute that I'd be in this position if I hadn't passed many of the tests the Lord allowed me to face. God wants to bless and use you and me in greater ways, but in order for Him to do that, we are going to have to pass some tests. If we view these tests as opportunities instead of burdens, and if we respond correctly, we will live the life of victory and purpose that is our inheritance in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, teach me to see my tests and trials from a heavenly perspective from now on. Help me to forgive those who hurt me quickly and thoroughly each and every time. Remind me that You are aware of my distress, and that You will strengthen and comfort me as I turn to You. Thank You for the blessings and rewards that I will reap as I pass my tests with Your help!
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