Who doesn’t love a good surprise now and then? A romantic gesture, a love note from mom, a spontaneous hug from a child. Our responses to positive surprises are generally positive. We are able to see the reasoning behind what happened to us as usually associated with love.
What about the negative surprises? Your car explodes, your best friend has cancer, your bank account is overdrawn, you’re being sued, you lose your passport (then your mind) two days before you’re to leave. You get the picture. There are things that happen to us (some more than others) that really knock us off our feet. And we are completely devastated. We are unable to see the reasoning behind what happened to us.
I pose to you the reasoning is love.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its perfect work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4
God created you for a specific reason. If you’re having a hard time believing that, it doesn’t make it any less true. (Consult Ephesians 2:10 and Jeremiah 29:11 for evidence.) It’s logical that getting you to participate in that reason, given that we have wills of our own, requires some molding and shaping. God allows some “negative” circumstances in our lives that we might take up our cross (Your “cross” is the specific reason you were created and God’s will for your life.)…that I might take up God’s perfect will for my life and accomplish it. That I might see past my circumstances and past the temporal and physical realities of this world and see the greater plan. Why did my car blow up? Is God showing me I need to be more responsible? Is God showing me I need to be more reliant on the help of others? Why does my best friend have cancer? Is God asking me to learn how to pray for healing? Why do I never have enough money? Is God helping me learn to live more simply that I might be prepared for a lifestyle that will help others know him more?(I don’t have the answers to your questions (or mine). Only God has the answers and he loves you so much that he wants to be in daily relationship with you so that He alone can give you those answers! Another surprising thing about him! He wants to be friends with mess-ups like us!)
Now, God is NOT the author of evil. But, he is the victor over it. He can turn anything that knocks us off our feet into a worship service. He can take the largest brain tumor and make it disappear. He can open the eyes of your relatives who do not yet know the Lord in an instant! There is nothing he cannot do. Nothing.
So, why isn’t he? Major reason #1: We’re not asking in faith. (Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 4:2, Hebrews 11) You say, “I am.” But are you really? Do you really believe that God, creator of heaven and earth, cares that much about you? Do you believe he performed the miracles in the Old and New Testament? Do you believe in his miracle power? You’re asking, yes. But do you believe? Our faith can move mountains! Our faith can heal the sick and make the blind see. When we ask, faith in the power of God can do anything and everything, if it’s bent on his glory. So, are you asking in faith AND are you asking with the right motives (major reason #2)? James 4:2-3
You want to see your friend healed. Why? Who does the glory of that healing go to? You want money to miraculously appear in your bank account. Why? Who will the glory of that provision go to? We must be about Kingdom living and Kingdom principles if we want the cares and concerns of this world to come into proper alignment. God’s Kingdom. The one that lasts. The one you have a spot in because of Christ’s love for you, if you so choose to take your spot in it.
A great teacher I know says, “The things that are happening are not happening to you, they are happening for you.” Re-read James 1:2-4. They are happening so that you might be mature, complete, lacking nothing. They are happening that you might bring God glory through the way you choose to deal with the challenge. They are happening that you might stretch the muscles and become the person God created you to be.
I pray that whatever comes your way in the days ahead you might have a confidence and a peace that Christ is for you and not against you. That you might know that in abiding in him, nothing is out of control. That you might receive the revelation that every single moment of your day you are being prepared to help others, to give glory to God, to be a blessing and to be blessed. May you know it. May you live it. May the knowledge and revelation bring you peace.