Everyone has something going on in their lives. There is at least one area of your life where there is some kind of adversity or obstacle or resistance. If that’s not true, give it a day or two.
James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials… but come on… no one enjoys Resistance and Obstacles and Adversity…
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Most of you will agree with me that God will use your current circumstances for your good. Regardless of how you got there, God can use it for your good. Whether someone did something to you or you made a bad decision that got you there… whatever the reason, right?! We have all made bad decisions that got us into a pickle… We can look back and say “Yep I did that.”
What I’d like you to consider is this: What if… God is responsible for, or has allowed, your current circumstances… I want to let that sink in for just a minute… What if… What if God has orchestrated events in your life that have directed you into a not so good place…
Some of you right now are beginning to think “God is good… why would He do that?” well stick with me. Would you just consider with me that the adversity you’re facing is God’s doing… for your good.
Here’s what I know to be true, Muscles only grow by experiencing resistance. Faith grows the same way… you can spend years studying, but if you never get to apply your learning your just book smart…
OK So all that to say, there is a strength that comes from adversity.
God has created each and every man to have Impact and Influence. He created you a certain way… He wired you a particular way, and He has created and allowed circumstances and adversity to help mold you, and form you, and mature you into that very thing. AHA! I’m starting to understand James a little better now!
The following is a familiar story but it’s right inline with what we’re talking about.
A man finds a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.
Here is an interesting thought… If God really IS orchestrating some adversity in your life to help you grow into the man He has created you to be. He has got to be saying “Bless your heart” when He hears you praying prayers that sound like this:
God hurry help
God get me out of this
God make a way
God rescue me
God fix this
So what I want you to consider is this. Take your current situation, your current season, take that thing that you’ve been praying to God for His help to break or release or rescue. Come on… Let’s get real honest for a minute… what is it? is it a financial hardship? is it a heath issue? is it a relational problem? Marriage, children, siblings? Are you going through life lately asking “What the heck is going on?!”
What if… just maybe, this thing you are trying to escape or fix is God’s doing or “allowing” FOR YOUR GOOD!
Jeremiah 29:10-11 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.
How about Joseph: can anyone relate to Joseph? Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Here is the verse about Joseph (Genesis 39:21)… Really a theme throughout his life that just blows me away.
Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor… WHAT! If you know Josephs story there are plenty of years in his life that didn’t look very kind or favor filled! Here are four things Joseph knew to be true:
1. God is in control;
2. God is at work even when it doesn’t seem obvious;
3. God’s work in our lives is complex and multifaceted; and
4. Even if everything is against us, God is for us.
Let me give you a personal example. In 2005 my wife and I were separated for 11 months and 14 days. She left for a lot of reasons but most importantly was the fact that I was not providing for my family the way I should have been.
What I was trying to do, and praying for God’s help to do, right up to the time she left was trying to save or prolong what had become a very dysfunctional relationship. We weren’t friends, we had grown apart, etc. I’m praying “God fix us”, “God help this business I’m trying to start to prosper” and He won’t… He didn’t… and today I am so very grateful he didn’t… You see I, and if your honest, most of you; we all want the easiest, quickest way out of painful situations and circumstances. All God had to do was answer a prayer or two I had prayed… Simply allow a few prospects to become customers… to me at that moment that’s what needed to happen… that would have fixed things.
The truth is, that would have prolonged things and the existing relationship… but come on, that’s a whole lot better than separation or divorce right… or so I thought. You see, I had one perspective (God help fix this spot I’m in) and God has His perspective… His is always better by the way. His perspective was this; I don’t just want to prevent separation or divorce, I want your relationship to thrive! I want you and Kirsten to both become more healed and whole so that you can love one another again… so you can like one another again… so you can be a help to each other and foster love to each other, your children and others. In addition to all that I want the Glory! I want you and those around you to have no other explanation… But God.
You want to know the problem with His perspective? To accomplish it, His plan involved almost a year of separation, His plan involved a time out of sorts to do some needed work in our hearts. His plan involved pain. His plan involved me having to learn and grow and change. His plan involved some hard work. His plan involved sacrifice.
All that to say, today looking back, I have proof if you will that God was much more than a bystander or someone to “help me out”. He orchestrated some things… even some hard things… all for my good
God is in this! Remember Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor…” well the Lord is with Michael and He is extending kindness to me, and giving me favor… AND the same is true for every one of you! The Lord is with you, He is extending Kindness to you and showing you favor.
Can you just for a minute begin to look at your situation, your circumstance, your dilemma in a new way. In a way that has God in control and responsible, to see you though… to show you kindness and favor? I hope so!
You have questions and doubts, but God doesn’t. You have fears and struggles, but God doesn’t. Walk like that. Talk like that. Lead like that.