In the midst of tough circumstances, have you ever begged the question—Why God?
Well, chances are you are not alone.
During those hard times, I believe it is a part of our humanity—stemming from our inner spirit—that cries out in confusion when things seem out of control. But… maybe we are asking the wrong question.
Instead of screaming at the sky asking God why He would allow it to happen, maybe the question we should really be asking is this: Why is God allowing it to happen?
Sounds like the same question, right?
What is different is not necessarily the words, but the mindset behind it. What I mean to say is, rather than questioning God’s goodness and character, question the purpose.
Bear with me. I know you may be hurting, and when that happens it is so hard to see past the pain. And that may take a little time, and that’s okay. But when it is time, try to look past the pain you feel in order to see the bigger picture.
Because even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, God IS good.
Even though everything falls through His hands, even though He is in control of all, He is not up in the sky plotting how to best throw us curveballs in life. At least that’s not the God I know. We live in a broken world, where sin and disease exist. And because we do not live in the garden anymore, yes, God allows those things to happen until Revelation, where He creates a new heaven and new earth.
One of the most misquoted verses of all time is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I’m sorry, but God did not write this to YOU specifically. We misquote this verse by putting it on graduation and sympathy cards, hoping it will make someone feel better. But the truth is, God wrote this to a very specific group of people, the Israelites who were exiled by Babylon. Even though we can’t use this as a prescription for a needed “feel-good” verse, we can use it as an example of God’s character.
You want to know the circumstances in which He said this? Israel was in exile! From the land God Himself had promised them! With this letter, He was giving them hope that He had not given up on them.
We learn later in scripture, that God DOES fulfill His promises, and the Israelites returned to the land that was promised them.
So how do we look at our trials with purpose?
Let’s look at James 1:2-8:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
What James is saying is if for no other specific reason, enduring trials with faith produces spiritual maturity and perseverance. It makes our spirit stronger. And if we lack wisdom with what we are going through, James says to ask God Himself! However, if we are going to ask God, rather than shouting to the sky in disbelief, we need to ask Him in faith, believing He will come through—just like He did for the Israelites. If we ask in faith, God will answer. If we come to Him with a disbelieving heart, are we really prepared to hear what He has to say? Therefore, He may not answer because we wouldn’t believe Him anyway.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/emagic/56206868/”>e-magic</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/”>Visual Hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-ND</a>
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