1 Thessalonians 5:18 (New International Version)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As I sit at my kitchen table and watch Methuselah my green eared slider turtle swim around his tank it brought back to memory a story I once read.
It goes like this:
Not long ago I was on my way to an appointment when I spotted a turtle in the middle of the highway. The poor creature was somehow turned onto its back and was kicking and clawing in an effort to get back onto its feet. I couldn't stand the thought of driving past, knowing this creature would probably die without my help, so pulling off to the side of the highway, I quickly retrieved the stranded tortoise before racing back to my vehicle.
At first the creature hid within its shell, but quickly emerged, crooking its neck in an effort to bite the very hand that had saved it from death. I remember someone calling them "snapping turtles" when I was a child, and this one sure lived up to its name--gratitude definitely not on its mind when it was snapping at my fingers.
Now I understand that the animal could not have possibly been aware of the full picture. Had it perceived the danger, it surely would not have ventured out onto the hazardous highway. More important, had it known that I was saving its life, it most certainly would never have tried to bite me.
Then I thought of the many instances where the gentle hand of God picked me up when my world had been knocked upside down: times when life seemed unfair and things were not going well; when people I loved were diagnosed with terminal illnesses; when creditors, lawyers and bank officials contacted me more frequently than friends or family. It was during these times that I too snapped at the One who had rescued me.
Why is it that our first reaction always seems to be to withdraw into our shell and hide, then lash out at God and anyone else who dares to come near us? Our limited spiritual-view is much too small for us to understand because our limited understanding, like the turtle's, prevents our awareness of the whole picture. So often we think it's unfair that God would move us out of our comfort zone, when in fact He has snatched us from a dangerous situation.
Yes, "snapping Christians" exist, and God still pauses in the busiest of life's highways in order to pull us to safety. His compassion is too great to throw us back when we snap and bite at the hand that saves us. After all, He loves us or He would never take the time to rescue such ungrateful creatures. Look at Romans 5:8: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Now you may not realize you are snapping at God during these times, but when you complain about your situation, you never see that it is sometimes the hands of God you're complaining about. After looking back, we now understand that some things have happened in our lives for a reason, and a good reason at that.
Dear Lord we pray that we wouldn’t be a snapping Christian. Help us not complain about the things that happen around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.