Keith & I were having our Saturday morning chit-chat this morning. We talk about the kids, house, stories we didn’t have time to share during the week, the future, etc. One thing leads to another usually & we kind of bump along. Anyway, this morning we started talking about a certain situation we have no control over & we were giving each other the pep talk – God’s got it handled & will change it when it’s time.
It’s one thing to say God can change the situation. He can! That’s true. I’ve often reminded myself that God changed Pharoah’s heart with the ten plagues. He can use all kinds of things to change this situation we’re in if & when He chooses. But for whatever reason (& we don’t have to know), He chooses not to right now. We just need to trust Him in that. “All things work together for good to those who love Him & are called…” I know that. Somehow, God’ll work all this mess out for His good purposes. Ever thought that way?
That’s all true, but we got to thinking beyond that this morning. What if Joseph thought that way? He probably did for a while. But somewhere in all that prison stuff, he must have made the switch to thinking… God IS working IN all this. He’s not just allowing this & choosing not to change it for whatever reason. He is working His will IN it. He wants this to happen. This is GOOD. I’m pretty sure Joseph made that thought switch because he didn’t spend his life wallowing in the prisons. He would’ve had every right to get all sorry for himself & feel like all the talent & privileges God gave him had been squashed due to his brothers’ stupid sinful hearts. If only they… But he didn’t. He got busy being productive in spite of all that pain & unfair treatment.
Keith brought up Paul. The very last verses in Acts say this, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was under house arrest here. A guard was always by his side & he was not permitted to go to the mission field like he had been “called” to do. Some might say his life calling had been thwarted or stunted. Doggone it! He wasn’t free to do what God wanted him to do! Yet it says “without hindrance”. God was orchestrating the whole thing & Paul knew it. Paul was aware that God was working IN his imprisonment, not that He could change that situation if He wanted to but for some reason was choosing not to. See the difference? That’s huge!
To make the shift in thinking not just that God will eventually work all this out, but that God is doing His good purpose right now in the midst of it all is very important. Joseph had to have switched to do what he did. Paul obviously had that perspective. He didn’t sulk in the difficulty of prison or beatings or his many, MANY trials. He recognized those trials as the trail to God’s good work in His life & those around him. That’s how Paul could say, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” just before He wrote “I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4)
Whatever is going on in your life right now, yes, God could change it if He wanted. Yes, He is choosing not to for His own good reasons. But try telling yourself this truth, too: He is working His good purpose in that circumstance right now. In the middle of the pain. The frustration. The limitation. Don’t think that the end is good, but the means getting there is just to be endured. He could’ve made a different means to get there but He didn’t. He chose this path for a reason.
And don’t think for a moment He is not aware of what is happening. Not only is He fully aware, He brought THAT to you for a reason. Yes, I said THAT. Even that!!! Whatever “it” is. Rest in the fact that He IS WORKING in that. Right now. Know that YOU are not hindered from God’s great plan in any way. I needed to hear that this morning. Maybe you do, too.
2 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, ALWAYS be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
This whole post is assuming we have no control over our situation & there’s no sin on our part involved. Next post: when we’re in a bad circumstance that was or is in our control – due to bad choices.