Recently, the vacuum cleaner I use most around my house died suddenly. I had bought it only three months before, so I was hopeful that the manufacturer would repair it for me at no cost. But when I arrived at the service center with my vacuum and sales receipt, I was told that no claim could be filed without a proper warranty. In front of the service clerk, I flipped through the paperwork that came with my vacuum. To my dismay, I discovered that I had neglected to fill out and mail in the original warranty form. The clerk somberly informed me that she would contact the manufacturer, but that I shouldn't be too hopeful. In the meantime, I prayed and asked the Lord to intervene and make a way for my vacuum to be restored. I also asked Him to forgive me for neglecting to register my warranty. Three days later, I still hadn't heard from the service center, so I called and asked what the status of my complaint was. The clerk informed me that my vacuum was beyond repair, and they still hadn't gotten permission from the manufacturer to proceed with my appeal. As soon as I hung up the phone, I went to the Lord in prayer, earnestly praying for Him to bring a swift and favorable conclusion to this matter. I reminded Him of His promises of victory and justice, and I told Him that I was counting on His help. Only a few minutes after I finished my prayer, I received a call from the service center informing me that the manufacturer had decided to give me a brand new vacuum for free. I picked up my new machine that very afternoon, and I rejoiced and praised God for His awesome power and mercy.
I believe that in situations like these, God has specific strategies that He wants us to employ. One of them is to refuse to become angry or offended. Proverbs 19:11 (TLB) says, "A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults." And Proverbs 19:19 (TLB) says, "A short-tempered man must bear his own penalty." When I first approached the service clerk with my complaint, she was uncooperative, and even insulting. I was sorely tempted to become indignant, but instead, I responded calmly and respectfully, and I believe it made all the difference in the outcome. In Matthew 10:16 (NIV), Jesus told His disciples: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Because there will be times when we have to deal with people who would take advantage of us or deceive us, God wants us to be on our guard, and to use wisdom. But that’s not an excuse for us to use trickery or deception to try to get our way. We can claim God’s promise in Luke 21:15 (NIV), where Jesus says, "I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." The Lord knows exactly what it will take to bring about a favorable outcome in our situation, and He'll show us what to say and do when we seek His help.
I once heard someone say that Christians lose more battles because they don't let God do their fighting for them. I believe that's true. There are many verses in the Bible that indicate that God is willing and able to do battle for us. One of my favorites is Exodus 14:14 (AMP): "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest." Whether our battles are big or small, we should commit them to the Lord, and ask Him to fight for us and show us what our part might be. It's important in times like these that we resist becoming fearful or anxious, because fear can cause us to react rashly, and to make poor decisions and costly mistakes. Fear can also make it more difficult for us to receive direction from the Lord. It's wiser for us to pray and stand on God's promises of victory, including Deuteronomy 28:13 (TLB), which says, "You shall always have the upper hand." Most of all, we should remember that we are never to count on others to execute justice for us apart from God. For as Proverbs 29:26 (NIV) says, "Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice."
Prayer: Lord, whenever I'm tempted to fight my own battles, remind me that You are more than willing and able to help me. Show me what my part is in the process, and keep me from becoming angry, offended, or fearful. Thank You that as I employ Your strategies, and put my trust in You, You'll reveal Yourself to me as Jehovah-Nissi—"The Lord my Victory and my Banner"! (Exodus 17:15)
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