“I don’t understand why God doesn’t just do something about this. I mean, He is God... He can do anything!”
These are the words of someone who I spent some time with not long ago. Someone who is currently going through a pretty tough situation. And, maybe, even more accurately, these are the words of just about anyone ever at some point.
I think one of the most challenging things for us to do is to keep our perspectives where God wants them.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything that is going completely wrong, or sometimes our attention focuses on what we feel are the “best case scenarios” of whats happening that is not completely right. The challenge for us is to be able to take what is happening to us, or what we (or the ones we care for) are experiencing, and allow God to be the one to determine the outcome.
Take Pauls writing for example in 2 Corinthians: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Whatever it was that Paul was asking God to remove, he didn’t seem to enjoy. From what we know of Paul, he seemed to be a pretty passionate guy. So, it’s hard for me to imagine him passively making a sheepish request for something relatively insignificant to him to be removed. I think it was something that was a pretty big deal. At least to Paul it was.
The response of God each of the times is critical. But, what is almost as important is the conclusion that Paul arrives at. After numerous times, he realizes that he is the one who needs to make an adjustment in how he views what is going on in his life.
All three times God did not do what Paul was asking. He did however provide reassurance that He was enough for Paul. So, Paul makes the adjustment in his thinking. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
What if we were to do that in our lives? What if instead of speaking purely of what is wrong and how God has yet to fix it, or even more, acting like everything is completely fine; what if we spoke of how God’s grace is sufficient?
That relationship with a family member, co-worker, or fellow believer that can be a strain at times... what if we were honest about it like this, “We’re really not compatible at all, but God is using those differences to build humility in us that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
What about the never ending financial burden that most of us deal with? What if we said something like this, “We have never been truly ‘comfortable’ financially, but it has kept me on my knees, and God has always provided.” How about the challenge of blending families? What if the statement became, “Blending two families has been brutal at times. We have thought that there were moments where we wouldn’t survive, but God continues to give us strength. And, without His strength, we wouldn’t survive.”
How would we change if instead of seeing challenges as “Really God?!? I have to face this again!” We began to see them as an opportunity for His strength to be made perfect??? How would we change if instead of seeing challenges as “Really God?!? I have to face this again!” We began to see them as an opportunity for His strength to be made perfect???