“So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.”
There are a couple of people in God’s Word who I look at and could justify them becoming bitter towards the ministry because of what happened to them if they wanted to get bitter, but they never yielded to bitterness’ temptation. Ezekiel was one of those people who could have easily become angry towards the ministry because of all that happened to him. One of the things that happened to him was that God used his wife as an object lesson for a sermon he was to preach to a backslidden Israel. The object lesson was that God took his wife with a stroke, and the next morning he was to go out and preach as if nothing happened.
Anyone could have easily become bitter towards the ministry if they were Ezekiel. Let’s face it; Ezekiel was serving the LORD, and I’m sure he loved his wife, yet, God chose to take his wife instead of killing those who were not serving the LORD. Looking through the mind of human reasoning, one could easily give an excuse for Ezekiel to become bitter, but he didn’t.
I have been in the ministry my entire life. Several things have happened to me that are too many to list, and it would be easy to use any of those things as an excuse to become bitter. I have watched many other people go through similar or less circumstances as I have, and they have become bitter, but there is a reason I have not become bitter. When you look at Ezekiel and how he didn’t become bitter is how you must look at life’s circumstances if you want to avoid bitterness. Let me point out how to avoid becoming bitter.
First, realize that life happens to all. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die…” Death happens to all, and Ezekiel understood that what happened to his wife was simply a part of life. Whatever your heartache is, it is simply a part of life. The sooner you accept that your heartache is a part of life, the quicker you can move on so that you don’t become bitter towards God and the ministry.
Second, understand that God has a right to do what He wants to do. Job said in Job 1:21, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Ezekiel had to understand that God had a right to take his wife just as much as He had the right to give him his wife. Bitterness can be avoided if you’ll realize that God has the right to take from you as much as He has the right to give you what He took.
Third, focus on what God gave you. Instead of focusing on the LORD taking from you, focus on what God gave you and how long you were able to enjoy whatever it was that He took from you. You should understand that it was God’s mercy that He even gave you what He took from you; therefore, you have a reason to rejoice because you had something you didn’t deserve in the first place.
Fourth, stay busy. The reason God wanted Ezekiel to preach the next morning was because He knew that if Ezekiel stayed busy, he wouldn’t have time to become bitter. If you stayed busy serving God instead of sitting and sulking, you would have no time to get bitter over what has happened to you. If you would get busy by using your heartache as a tool instead of a weapon, you would find that your heartache could become a great asset for God to use to help you to help others in their time of need.