Jun 252020 0 Responses

When Circumstances Turn You to Scripture

When circumstances turn us to Scripture, it is a good thing. Whatever gets us to open the Bible and engage God’s Word is a useful experience. It’s easy through the regular passages of time to push disciplined Bible study to the side and get into a rut of never truly listening to God. We might quickly run off our wish list through prayer, but we don’t take time to hear who God has revealed Himself to be. When we are shaken by that through a poor diagnosis, an economic crisis, job loss, or relationship struggle, it can be a sign of God’s grace when we begin again to read His Word.

Yet when circumstances turn us to Scripture, we must be careful. (See: More Pages, Less Instagram Bible Verses)

When you turn to Scripture:

  • as your loved one’s life hangs in the balance in ICU, you will read every text as a promise for healing.
  • in the midst of an economic depression, you will read every passage as a guarantee of prosperity.
  • in an election year, you will likely read every verse as a condemnation on your political opponents.

When circumstances turn us to Scripture, we often read Scripture through our circumstances.

“What’s God telling me in this” is a good and meaningful question. God does reveal things to us through the situations around us. I often ask why God might allow certain circumstances and what do those situations reveal about Him and about me. Consider: A Christian Response to Islamic Terrorists or My First Response to a Natural Disaster or Why Riot and Loot? All of those articles take a current event and try to understand what God might be communicating through that event. It’s a God-honoring approach to our lives.

While it is good to ask “what’s God telling me in this,” an equally important question is “what has God told me for this?”

When we have a consistent process of Bible reading and study, we can be assured that God is revealing Himself to us not just in the circumstances we face, but also for them. As He reveals Himself as loving, kind, attentive, involved, sovereign, and good, He does that so when we face uncertainty, doubt, and confusion we don’t have to question who He is or whether He is at work around us.

As we endure the COVID-19 pandemic, so many are rightly asking what is God telling us through these circumstances. It’s a good inquiry. Clearly He is showing us things that we have overvalued and other things we have undervalued. Yet I also wonder what has He long told us for this pandemic.  What did God teach us before we even heard of a coronavirus or contact tracing or shelter-in-place or any of the other new terms which have become part of our regular vocabulary?

Has He not shown us that He is:

Good. That even when sickness and doubt swirl around us, He is seeking good for us.

Active. That though it feels as though He is absent, we know better.

In Control. That while everything feels so random, we know that He has plans for us and this world.

With God, questions and answers are often reversed. If we are walking with Him, he often answers our questions before we ask. A pandemic hits and we wonder how should we respond; yet He has long shown us who we should be. The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t have an asterisk that reads “*does not apply in times of epidemics.” Instead, we can experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control even as the economy tanks and the contagion rages. As we receive those attributes from God, he begins to develop them within us so that we can act in those ways toward others. Imagine what kind of gift that would be during this day. (See: 5 Reasons Christians Don’t Hear From God)

A problem with allowing our current circumstances to drive us is that even when they drive us toward Scripture, we tend to still be in the spotlight. We make everything about us and pretend as though everything that is happening is because God has a singular message specifically for me. While God speaks to us, you and I are never the ones in the spotlight. He is. What if your circumstances have far less to do about you and far more to do with what God wants to do through you as you trust Him.

It’s okay to allow circumstances to drive you to Scripture. But don’t downplay the importance of regular, disciplined Bible reading and study in which you seek to know the character of God. I assure you, He is far more concerned with showing you who He is than telling you what you need to do. Understand the Who and the what will easily take care of itself.

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