“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
–Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
These are such well-loved and familiar verses that we often lose sight of the truths they contain. Because of this principle, Jesus knew there was nothing like a good story to get His point across, and that there was something engaging about this form of communication. I think you’ll agree that stories often mesmerize us, and transport us to other worlds.
Because of this, people will often listen to a story when other forms of communicating the same things fail. Therefore, I would like to share two stories with you, and then draw upon both as we make an application.
Our first tale is about a man who had everything going for him at one time. Then, out of the blue, he began to suffer financial reverses in his business, and he soon lost everything.
While moping around one day and wondering where his next meal would come from, a genie mysteriously appeared to him.
“What’s wrong, friend?” the genie asked. “You act as though you have nothing to live for.”
“Well, what if I don’t? What business is it of yours, anyway?” grumbled the man. Then he shook his head and said, “By the way, where did you come from? I’ve never seen you around here before.”
“No, I don’t imagine you have,” replied the genie. “I’ve come from a far-away land.”
“Yeah, right! And I suppose you’re going to give me three wishes now?”
“You know,” the stranger said, nodding, “that’s not a bad idea, but my schedule is very busy. I can only give you 60 minutes of your time.”
“I should have known I’d get a busy genie,” the grumpy man said. Then his voice trailed off. The room became quiet as he thought about his first wksh.
Then suddenly he threw caution to the wind and shouted, “I’ve always wanted a beach house with a great view!”
Moments later, he stared in disbelief as he was transported to a house on a hill. It was the home of his dreams, and he could see a beautiful view of the beach.
But in spite of this wonderful event, there seemed to be something lacking.
“I know what’s wrong!” he said after a moment’s thought. “I want a shiny new red convertible to go with my house!”
“All right,” his new best friend said. “Here are the keys! What’s your third wish?”
The genie’s new master had about 45 minutes left, so he said, “I’ll have to take the car out for a spin and clear my head.”
A few minutes later, he was cruising down the coast, admiring the breath-taking view. He put the top down, flipped on the radio, and started singing along. Then a commercial came on, and he continued to sing without thinking. “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener …”
You can probably guess what happened to our poor friend after that.

Unlike the first story, our second story actually happened, and it can be found in the pages of scripture. I will condense it for our purposes.
This story is about a very real and prideful king named Nebuchadnezzar. He built a huge empire, and he believed all the people should worship him. He commissioned a statue that was 90 feet tall an 9 feet wide. Can you imagine that?
But as if that wasn’t enough, the king set it up where everybody could see it, and he sent out a message to all the government officials, asking them to come to the dedication.
Then the herald shouted out, “Pay attention, everyone! Don’t fail to listen to the king’s command! When you hear the musical instruments begin to play, you must bow down and worship the great king. Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
When the music began, all the people bowed down and worshipped the gold statue. But some of the astrologers went to the king.
“The Jews among us will not bow down to you, but only to the living God of heaven and earth,” they reported.
The king flew into a terrible rage, and ordered that the Jews be brought before him.
“Is it true that you refuse to worship my statue and my gods? I’ll give you one more chance when you hear the music a second time.”
But they replied that they didn’t need to defend themselves to the king, and that whether the true God delivered them or not, they would still worship Him.
Have you heard of anyone taking a stand like that today? I haven’t, and that’s why I think we have what I call a pretzel theology. In other words, if we don’t like what the Bible says, we think we can twist it and flavor it until we come into agreement with it.
Many times, we treat God like the genie in our first story, and our prayers become more like wishes than heartfelt communication with the true king of the universe. As long as God gives us what we want, we think things are great. But when He doesn’t do what we think He should, or we have to face hard times, we are more like the king in the second story. We fume at God and ask, “Where are you, Lord?”
Therefore, I encourage each of us to be more like those Jews who would not bow down to other kings or gods, come what may. To do this, we need to filter everything through God’s love, instead of depending on our feelings. God knows what’s best for each of us, and He asks us only to trust Him.
So instead of calling Grayhound, call Jesus and leave the driving to Him, for the Bible says He sees the end from the beginning.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.mynvm.com and click on the PayPal button. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.