The past few years our family has been tested by a trial that has taken us through the valley of the shadow of death. At times, fear, hopelessness, and grief have wrapped themselves around us like heavy garments causing us to cry out, “How long, O LORD? Will you hide Yourself forever?” (Psalm 89:46). Though we’ve strained to hear God’s voice, often it feels like we are facing a mountain too steep to climb, an ocean too deep to cross.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26.
While it’s often difficult to see God’s hand in suffering, we know from the Bible that He typically leads His chosen people to the Promised Land by way of the wilderness. By design He leads us to desperate places, often leaving us there longer than we hoped or expected. The truth is that God sovereignly ordains and measures the circumstances we spend so much energy trying to avoid or get free of to teach us that He’s everything we need..
As I have sought to run the race God has set for me in a way that brings glory to His Name, I’ve learned that, while there’s a place for lament in the Christian walk, the gospel is what provides sustaining hope through seasons of darkness.
Our hearts are settled by the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and goodness but also by remembering that God brings life out of death. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly! John 10:10
God Ordains Impossible Assignments for the Good of His Children
“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places: surely I have a delightful inheritance” Psalm 16:5.
Whatever happens is assigned. Do you believe that? Last Friday night, we were all set for a women’s event at church. The tables were decorated, my message was ready, and desserts were baked. But three hours before the evening was to begin, a short but powerful storm came through, uprooting trees, downing branches, and knocking out power lines. When the power went out at church; it became obvious that the event would need to be rescheduled.
Did the storm take God by surprise?
One day Jesus took his disciples by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had fallen asleep when a great windstorm arose. When waves threatened to sink their boat, the disciples were certain they would die.
At the sound of their cries Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” At the sound of His voice, the wind ceased and the sea became calm. Then He looked at the men and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Filled with great fear, the disciples said to one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?” Mark 4
God assigned the storm to demonstrate His power and Lordship over creation to his disciples. For the same reason He brings storms that sometimes threaten to sink us. “The Lord makes well-being and creates calamity. The Lord does all these things!” (Isaiah 45:7)
John Piper says, “How God governs all events in the universe without sinning, and without removing responsibility from man, and with compassionate outcomes is mysterious indeed! But that is what the Bible teaches. God works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
God calls us to put our hope in Him, not in what looks possible or doable from our perspective. If we can’t be content to wait and trust God’s ways and timing, we will be tempted to seek solutions outside of God’s will. And if that fails, we’ll become hopeless.
Jerry Bridges says: “It didn’t matter to Paul how he was affected by adversities; the important thing to him was what happened to the gospel. As we grow in trusting God, our highest response to adversity should be to seek His glory.”
When, by faith, we trust the hand of God in everything, knowing that He assigns each circumstance for our good, we will have a quiet heart. All things are under our Father’s control, small things like power outages, and devastating things like the death of a dream or a loved one.
God uses overwhelming circumstances to reveal what we love and where we are placing our trust. He brings us to the end of our wisdom so that we’ll seek His wisdom. Sometimes the trial is short and we see how God has used it for good. Other times, the valley seems unending, causing our knees to buckle, our hands to droop, and our doubts to rise.
A trusting heart is an accepting heart, content with what God gives. Even when it’s not our plan. Even though our heart is breaking.
When the angel told Mary she would conceive a child though she was a virgin, her response was, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” “For nothing will be impossible with God” Luke 1:35-37.
This is how I want to respond no matter what God calls me to. By His grace I want to trust His love even when:
- He seems silent in response to my prayers
- There is no end in sight to suffering
- My strength has run out
- My courage has failed
- My faith is weak
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). Because one look at the Cross reminds us that God has not abandoned His purposes.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32.
God leads us to impossible circumstances to teach us things we could not otherwise learn. Next time we will take a look at what some of those things are.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you….