Friday, January 24, 2014

Taking Stock in Difficult Times

When Cooper was younger he had a bad habit when it came to opening doors on cars and at our house.  Because of his small size he would grab the handle and then throw all of his forty-five pounds into pulling on the handle in hopes of opening the door.  The only problem with this practice is that when he pulled on the handle he did not always pull the handle out straight.  He usually, due to his small size, pulled the door handle at some odd angle that nearly broke the handle.  One time he was headed into our house and did his usual door opening routine, nearly breaking the screen door handle.  I promptly told him that if he broke the handle I could not fix it and we would have to buy a new handle.  In his child-like innocence he looks up at me and asked me “Could God fix it?”  As a parent you want to instill in your children faith in God so I answered him “Yes God could if He wanted” and told him but dad would still have to go buy a new one if he broke it.

How many of us have asked that kind of question rhetorically, “Could God fix it?” when it comes to the problems in our lives.  We have all asked some variation of this question hoping and praying that God would fix whatever problem we are facing in our lives.  When we get to this point of questioning God and His willingness to help us in these areas we need to take stock of our situation and look for God’s will in our lives.

The first thing we should take into account is that God sometimes allows difficult times into our lives on purpose.  When God allows those difficult times into our lives it is not a matter of God doing so just to be mean to us.  God’s will and plan for our life is perfect and just, so we must keep that in mind.  God may allow a difficult time in our life because He needs to get us to a place we would never have made it to otherwise.  Without that difficult time we may not have been as receptive or responsive to Him.  Romans 8:28 reminds us of how God uses those difficult times in our life when it says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Another thing we should take into account is whether we are in our current situation because God allowed it or because of our own sinfulness.  We must remember that God has given every human being freewill.  Thanks to freewill we have the option of choosing whether we will follow God and His will or choose our own path and do our own will.  When we choose to rebel against God and go our own way then we must be prepared for the difficulties that come along with it.  When we look at our situation and see that the current issues in our life is because of our own sinfulness we must do what we know to be right.  We must repent and turn back to God allowing Him to work in our lives to help us through the aftermath of our “sin storm.”  Yes, God is willing to take us back, forgive our sins and help us move beyond it.  But we must also keep in mind that when God forgives that does not take away the earthly consequences of our sins.

The last thing we should take into account when we are at the point of questioning God is that God is still in control.  One time I did a children’s sermon on a Sunday morning where I placed a large granite stone in front of the children and taught them about how God is like a rock.  One thing we can learn from that is that no matter what goes on in our lives God is still in control.  God is still that Rock in our lives that is unchanging, unmoving, and always undeterred by the events in our lives.  We are taught in church from a young age that God is Sovereign, meaning that He is in total control and has supreme power over everything.  When we face those difficult situations in our lives and are ready to question God about His willingness to help us we must remember and be supremely confident in the fact that God has always been in control.

When we face those difficult times in life we must look at them to see if they are God’s doing, our doing and then remember that regardless of how it came to be God is still going to be in control.

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