Reading: Romans 9:20, Matthew 6:25-34
When we were first given the theme for this devotion it was difficult for us to determine how contempt played a role in revealing anything to us. We both thought we understood the meaning of the word but drew a blank on how to apply it to our lives. A friend suggested when they had trouble with a word they would look at the synonyms. One of the synonym studies revealed “Contempt is disapproval tinged with disgust.” What was difficult to apply just minutes before became completely overwhelming. How many times had either of us disapproved of something we saw on TV or read in a Facebook post so much that it caused disgust. Whether or not our view was right I could think of hundreds of times just this year alone. We could literally write a book.
Then we asked ourselves were there times in our life that we felt contempt about decisions we had to make? Had lack of faith caused us to question God’s plans? Looking back the decision not to move for my job has been one of the most tumultuous times in our lives, and the one that raised the most questions by us and those around us. The company I worked for was acquired and moved all of its operations to Dallas, Texas. Our family didn’t want to move but at the time the job market in my area of expertise was very tight. To make things more difficult my salary was not going to be easy to duplicate and we had just about righted the ship from losing our house a few years before. We prayed for other positions that would allow us to stay in Arizona, but it became increasingly clear if we didn’t want to take a massive step back financially, moving was probably the only option.
Everyone wanted us to stay, but everything financially was telling us to 12 leave. Through it all God seemed silent. Not silent as if He wasn’t listening to us. It was more like a parent that is letting their child make a decision; neither one is necessarily wrong but they know which one would be better. We probably wouldn’t use the word contempt to describe how we felt about the choice but we certainly did not enjoy it. For the longest time we didn’t really make a decision. We packed as if we were moving and I kept looking for other positions as if we were staying, all the while waiting for God to open up a new job for us or give us a peace about moving. Neither happened. The time finally came to within a month of having to load the truck and move, quit my job and collect our last paycheck.
It was at that time we decided to really give the decision to God. “It’s not about the money God, just let us know where You want us to be.” Seemed simple enough. If He provided a job before we had to load up we would stay, if not we would leave. We didn’t realize God had another option. “Since it’s not about the money just go ahead and quit even though you don’t have another job lined up and trust Me.” We don’t recall hearing these words but something made us decide to do exactly that.
For the first month we were fine, there was enough money in our 401k to pay our bills and a job was surely just around the corner. By the time we received the last of the money from our retirement fund there was still no job. Again, we wouldn’t use the word contempt but it certainly seemed the wrong decision had been made. Why would God allow us to be in this situation when we were pretty sure we followed His guidance when we made this choice? It was during this time God began to reveal something significant to us. Had we ever really given the outcome over to Him? We had prayed and asked God for guidance but in the end it was about finding a job and taking care of our family. It wasn’t truly, “…just let us know where you want us to be.” While we didn’t openly show contempt we certainly disapproved of where our decision had landed us. “We listened to what you wanted us to do God and this certainly isn’t what we were hoping 13 for.” That was our problem. It wasn’t until we stopped worrying about the money and the job that our eyes finally opened. God was waiting for us to truly trust Him. We didn’t need to agree or disagree with what He was doing. We just needed to accept that His plan was for us to stay here and be used by Him. Once we understood that, everything else fell into place.
Contempt is tricky. At its core it is simply not ascribing the proper respect to something or someone. Most of us would not say we have contempt for God, but many times we question His decisions. Why would He allow this to happen to us, or why doesn’t He help in this instance? To ask these questions we are really saying “Well I wouldn’t have let this happen this way.” In essence we are saying we know better than Him. While it is certainly ok to ask God what we are supposed to learn when dealing with situations we should be careful to do so with an attitude of reverence.
While often times the words “Trust in God” are easier said than done, God revealed that He truly does have us in His hands. We may not always see the good in our circumstances but if we love Him and do not resent Him for them, He is always going to use them for our good.
John and Dannielle Basso
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Reunion Community Church is a non-denominational, Bible teaching Christian church located in Peoria, Arizona. We are centrally located to Surprise, AZ, Glendale, AZ and Phoenix, AZ just off the 101 Freeway and Cactus Rd.