Do you ever look at your circumstances and assume you are good? Or maybe you look at your circumstances are convinced that somehow you missed what God was doing? I sure have! I’d like to propose, however, that our circumstances aren’t good indicators of success…obedience is.
Because comparison is so common, it is easy to compare our circumstances to those around us or compare them to what we think they should be. It is easy to assume that what God did last time, He is doing this time. Or because He did XYZ in John’s life, He must be doing it in yours. That, my friends, is quite the dangerous supposition.
For instance, Bob seems to be doing really “good.” He has more than enough money and the bills are paid. He assumes that he’s doing just fine. Because he made an assumption in this case instead of asking God, He totally missed God giving him more than enough because He wanted to bless Bob’s neighbor.
Sometimes the more isn’t only for us. Sometimes the “good” is because we are living by God’s principles that He set the world to run on. They are a natural consequence the same way doing all the wrong things carry natural consequences. Life going well and easy isn’t an indicator of right standing with God, unless it is.
On the flip side, Sally is in what you would consider a pit. She might assume she has missed what God was doing because JoAnn is doing well and she isn’t in a pit. What if I told you, however, that God wanted Sally to have a radical experience of Him as a rescuer and so it was His grace that put her in a pit so that He could rescue her. He may have even let her get herself in a pit to do the same thing.
Before you freak out say it isn’t even good theology that God would put us in a pit, consider the fact that He does. He tested Job (yes He let Satan test Him)…Job went through hell for a week. I would definitely consider that a pit. Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22 that Satan demanded to have him to sift him like wheat. Jesus didn’t say that He wouldn’t let Peter be sifted, He said, “When you come back, strengthen your brothers.”
Sometimes putting us in that pit is the most gracious thing God can do for us. Sometimes the pit is the only thing that can get us to the end of ourselves so that God can show up. Sometimes we have to empty out the world so that we can be filled up with Him. The stories we read in the bible tell us this truth.
David killed a guy, pretty big pit if you ask me, and God had mercy.
Saul killed Christians, uhhh hello deep dark pit, and God then changed His name to Paul after he said yes to God.
Moses was a Hebrew that was raised by Egyptians and then killed one of said Egyptians, and was in a pit for 40 years as God did a number on his character, only to lead 1+ million people out of slavery.
If you only go on circumstances, it is really easy to miss what God is doing. I hear you. It doesn’t mean it is fun or pleasant or happy…but then again, He never promised that. He in fact said, beware, it will be hard.
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. Matt. 10:22
Now I am not saying it will all be difficult and you’ll always be in a pit.
What I am saying is just because you’re there, doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Just because you’re in a pit doesn’t mean you have missed God. Sometimes the pit is God’s doing…and sometimes it ours. Just because you’re in the pit it doesn’t mean you missed God, unless you have.
Graham Cooke talks about circumstances and says that often times we Christians are begging God to get us out of a certain set of circumstances. All the while God is thinking something like “Get you out?! It took me 6 months and $10k to get you into that situation!”
EVERYTHING God does is to reveal to us another facet of His nature. To reveal more of His love. To bring further glory to His name.
A good, good Father
So if the situation looks dire, ask Him what He wants to reveal to you about Himself.
Even when we make a mess of things, He knows us better than ourselves. He knows the hairs on our head. He knows the intentions of our hearts. He sees that whether it was love or rebeillion driving us when we messed up. God, being the good Dad that He is, looks at us, smiles with compassion and lifts us out of the pit.
I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He lifted me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; He set my feet upon a rock, and made my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Living a satisfied, abundant life is not about having all the nice and easy circumstances. A satisfied life is knowing God regardless of the circumstances. You get to choose. Isn’t that part of the good news. That He died so that we could have a choice! Choose well.