Dec 062017 0 Responses

When You Didn’t Ask for This

On many occasions, our lives are defined by the choices we have made. If two people choose wisely, their marriage will succeed. If you work hard, chances are your career will advance. If you spend and save money with proper discipline, you will likely have enough money to retire. In many situations, we control what happens to us.

But not in every circumstance. While much of life is under our control, a good amount of it is beyond our purview. Sometimes we make life happen, but on other occasions, life happens to us. There are times in which we are forced to go down roads not of our own choosing–a diagnosis, unemployment, illness of a loved one, a dream dashed, an expectation unmet, a relationship broken, etc.

In these moments of uncertainty, it’s easy to question God and doubt his presence. Unable to understand why God has allowed the circumstances, it can feel as though we are all alone.

When you don’t know what to do, do this:

1. Look back at what God has done. The more you have a history with God, the easier it is to trust Him in the present. Knowing what God is up to in the moment is always difficult. It’s easier to look back and see how God worked in the past. By seeing how He has providentially worked through past circumstances, it gives us assurance He is at work in the present. This is a pattern repeated throughout Scripture, especially the Psalms. In times of struggle, God’s people voiced the past actions of God as an encouragement to themselves that the same God who worked in the past is at work in the present even if they don’t see it. This practice shows why it’s important for us to have some way of keeping track of our worries and God’s work. Sadly, we have long-forgotten how God has answered past prayers because we didn’t write them down or journal God’s activity. Start today and it will help you tomorrow. (See: Is It Dead or Dormant?)

2. Look ahead at what God has promised. Scripture has many promises about what is to come. While suffering might define our present day, we can take great hope in knowing that God ensures our day of suffering will come to an end. Our sorrow will have a sunset, but eternity with God will know no end. There is a reason so many of the great spiritual songs were sung about heaven and birthed in times of suffering. Remembering what God has promised helps us endure what we face today.

3. Look around at where God is working. While it is difficult to see what God is doing in our lives, the longer we walk with God, the more equipped we are to recognize His activity. Even when we can’t see what He’s doing with us, we can discern His work with others. Fixate on that work. Surround yourself with others who can point out God’s activity. When we seek God, we find Him.

 

The Determining Factor of Our Obedience

Each night I put Silas to bed. It’s a fun time of conversation, laughter, and sweet moments of him drifting to sleep on my shoulder. On most nights, Silas is quick to fall asleep. I’ll lay there long after he is asleep just to take in the moment. I recognize this is a fleeting time so I try to appreciate every second. When I finally slip out of bed, I make my way to the door. Nearly every night, before I make it, I hear his voice, “Daddy, will you stand at the door?”

Silas has a tough time falling asleep without me. It’s a dark room and there are a lot of things that seem awfully scary in the dark. My presence outweighs his fear. When I am near, he feels safe enough to fall asleep. When I am not near, his fears can overwhelm him. (See: God Isn’t Just the Man Upstairs)

We live in an awfully dark world. There are a lot of things which look pretty scary. But when God is near, we have peace. When we recognize His presence, we can obey.

When we begin to doubt God’s presence, we disobey.

Every road has one command–obedience. Whenever we are on a road not of our choosing, obedience can be more difficult. By looking back at what God has done, looking ahead at what God has promised, and looking around at what God is doing, we are more likely to feel His presence and therefore obey.

 

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