Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar…if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:16-18
How, when and where am I called to become stubborn and unyielding? For the right reasons.
Dr. Seuss’s story, The Zax, presents a simple and powerful picture of how it looks when I am headed north in my prairie of Prax and come upon another Zax who’s headed south, neither of us willing to scoot aside and let the other pass.
Because we never have and we never shall.
How ridiculous to refuse to move while standing, feet firmly planted, in a spacious place that has no obstacles, no justifiable reasons why I can’t yield to the obtrusive opposition.
But then my north going brain begs the question…is all stubbornness wrong? I say no.
What if God called me to head north, to be unyielding for the right reasons, to be downright stubborn for what He’s called me to do?
Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:18
They refused to yield, even though it might have meant death.
And Joshua. He called the people to a godly stubbornness, that they be careful to both meditate on and obey the word of God, without turning to the right or the left (Joshua 1:7-8)
God not only commands I refuse to relent in issues of true truth but to do so in a God-honoring way.
~In my marriage, am I stubbornly jealous for that relationship, unwilling to allow foxes to ruin the vineyards that are in bloom? (Song of Songs 2:15)
~In my parenting, am I stubbornly fighting for quality time, to be intentional (https://notaboutme1151parenting.wordpress.com) in my teaching, in my display of unconditional love? And even stubborn for teaching moral character even though I’ll lose my shot at Mom of the Year? Again 🙁
~In work relationships, am I stubbornly maintaining godly standards even when it means I’ll not win that promotion?
~In the checkout line, am I stubborn in kindness, refusing to return caustic rudeness to the cashier who probably has a pretty powerful story behind those haughty eyes? (Like, did her husband just leave her? Is her sixteen-year-old, unmarried daughter pregnant? Is her son a heroine addict? Was she recently given a troubling diagnosis? Did a person of influence once feed her the lie that she was unworthy? Had she been robbed of all her savings and is working to recover a few pennies?) Or, heck, maybe she’s just rude.
Might there be a time when God asks me to willfully and joyfully step aside? Or must I prove, in true north going style, I won’t change my ways even if I have to keep standing there 59 days?
What might God ask this north going Zax to do when face-to-face with that other Zax?
But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
Oh to become stubborn for the right reasons!
When are you stubborn when it’s right or, maybe, stubborn when it’s wrong?