When we go through a difficult season like the one we are currently in, we want answers! Our craving for reason is rooted in our most basic human needs. We long for stability and predictability. We crave control. We cope better when we can connect all the dots. But here’s the problem – life doesn’t always work like that.
Life is not a puzzle to be solved. Rather, it’s is a mystery to be lived. At the core of this mystery is a God who longs for us to know and trust him. So how do we handle it when God or what we’re going through doesn’t seem to make sense? And therein lies the rub: TRUSTING GOD WHEN IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! Who is the God of the storm?
“The God’s Must Be Crazy” is a comedy film released in 1980. It focused on a little Bushman from the Kalahari Desert who never ventured far from his village and had no concept of technology. A coke bottle fell from a plane and nearly hit him. He believed that it was a gift from the gods. He used it as a tool for many everyday tasks. Other members of the village eventually began to fight with him over it. He came to the conclusion that the bottle was an evil thing and decided to return it to the gods. So, he embarked on a journey to find the edge of the world where he could throw the bottle back.
Sometimes I feel that way about life and some of its circumstances – I WANT TO THROW THEM BACK!
Occasionally I feel a little bit like this: “God, you want me to do what? Are You crazy?” As we read our Bibles we find several people who have endured similar circumstances.
- God told Abraham, “Leave your home.” Abraham asks, “Where am I going?” God replies, “Don’t worry about it, follow me.” Abraham asks, “Who are you?” God says, “You’ll know me better when you get there.” You must be crazy!
- God said to Noah, “Build an ark.” Noah asks, “What’s an ark?” You must be crazy!
How many times have we felt that way? Asked to do something, or placed in the midst of something. especially when the storms come!
GOD IS IN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS
The sovereignty of God is the foundational doctrine of the whole Bible. God is God in name and in fact. He sits on the throne. He has perfect knowledge and all power. With Him there is no beginning, and with Him there will be no end. Whatever is yet to come, God is already there! He is God! I love every one of you reading this blog, but I am so glad that none of you are in control!
The sovereignty of God means that life is never really out of control. No matter how much it appears so from our perspective! He does not cause all things. God does not sin, nor does He cause sin to occur. Evil happens in the world because people misuse and abuse their freedom to choose. But he does control all things so that his determined will is accomplished.
GOD IS AT WORK IN ALL THINGS
Let’s dissect one of my favorite passages of Scripture and therein find hope and peace in the difficult season we all are going through…
Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (NLT).
And connects this passage to a larger context, Romans 8:18, where he talks about suffering and the problems we face. “All of creation is groaning…” We live in a world that is messed up because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve. Creation is under a curse, in bondage. When you disconnect from God, nothing works right! And we groan because we know things aren’t right. We groan in our affliction. But God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses.
Then Paul said, in connection with the groan of suffering…
We know, which is Christian assurance. We know it in our knower, deep down inside, that God is at work even when I don’t see Him. We know that we are not abandoned like orphans. We know we are not alone. When you get past the reaction and begin to respond, you then sense the presence of God, and you are able to acknowledge Him in all your ways.
That God causes everything, the good and the bad. We have no problems believing that God is there when the good stuff is happening. But He works in the things that don’t necessarily look like a blessing. Even in those times, WE KNOW!
To work together, which means He is the orchestrator. God can take the various instruments that are playing in your life, even the ones you don’t like, and some that sound out of tune, and He will bring them all together in one glorious symphony of His praise and glory!
For the good, which means the result is good. The process may not feel good, but the end result is good!
Of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Friends, purpose exists. You may not always see the purpose, but the purpose exists. If you are a Christian, you have been summoned by God to a high and lofty calling. He hasn’t brought you this far to leave you. He didn’t teach you to swim to watch you drown. You have been purposely chosen by God. God is saying to someone reading this, “I am on your side!”
I always want to know what or who caused the storm. But it really does not matter who or what has caused the storm. What matters is what God plans to do with the storm. What happens to me matters less than how God uses what happens to me. Where is God when it hurts? He is working to transform things into something good.
As I close, Romans 8:28 says he works all things together for the good. Here’s an important question to answer: How does God define “good”? I would define it as anything that leads to Steve Sabol’s convenience, comfort, and prosperity. But I sense that God has a deeper and different meaning for what is “good”.
Living a comfortable, convenient, and prosperous life does not make anyone a better person! So, God is up to something more than my comfort, convenience, and prosperity. Just what it is can be found in the very next verse…
Romans 8:29, For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (NLT)
If you are a Christian, God knew you in advance, and He chose you to become like His Son. It is in this verse that we come to understand the good purposes of God in our storms. So, what is good as God defines it? Whatever it is that helps me become more and more like His Son!
The definition of despair is to suffer without meaning. Whatever you are going through, there is a meaning, a purpose, a focus, and that is, when you have emerged from your storm, you would look more and more like Jesus!
God’s focus is our character but his purpose is his glory. God wants to take the things that happen to you and use them to make you more like Jesus. That is a higher goal than wanting life to be easier. Wanting to become a better person and wanting life to be easy are mutually exclusive goals.
Your greatest testimony and witness are seen when, after you have literally gone through hell, you still maintained the sweetness of your spirit and your passionate love for Jesus!
2 Corinthians 4:4-11 says, “…We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. We face death every day because of Jesus. Our bodies show what his death was like so that his life can also be seen in us. (CEV)
As you ride out this storm, may his life be seen in you, and thereby give hope to the hopeless!