I’m getting really sick of the circumstances I’m in. I’m sick of getting what seems like the short end of the stick in so many situations, sick of feeling hurt and sad so often, sick of dealing with such awful events in my life. They really stack up, and every once in a while it just becomes too much. There a lot of things going on right now, and sometimes I wonder why I’m the one dealing with it. The unique (and a lot of times unsaid) part of this trial, though, is pretty important to realize – I’m not the only one feeling like this. In fact, every single person who ever has lived on this planet will feel the same way; we all have crappy times in our lives, no matter who we are, where we live, how much money we make, etc. And sometimes – here’s the not-so-fun part – God doesn’t deliver us from them.
Now before you confuse that last part with me saying that God isn’t in control, let’s take a look at some Scripture:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:7-9)
A lot of times, we take verse nine in a context of seeing God’s power through our weakness. But as we look deeper, we can see an even more valuable meaning from these verses – God will not deliver Paul from his pain by removing Satan’s presence in his life. He’s stuck in that situation and God refuses to take him out of it. See, we’re always going to have bad circumstances at some point. It’s inevitable. But the temptation is often to expect God to pull us out if we pray “hard enough” or achieve whatever other stipulations we create. See, that’s just not biblical. Do you think that Job got his original family back? Do you think that Moses finally got a pass into the Promised Land? Or perhaps we’ve forgotten that every single apostle was killed for his faith. Those seem to be circumstances that God did not deliver them from. But what God does promise to everyone who believes is that his grace is sufficient – we need nothing else. See, it’s these times of trial that our faith is truly built; without hardship, we have no need for God’s provision and grace. Sometimes, God will guide us through the pain. Sometimes, he will take us out of it. And sometimes, he just reminds us that his grace is sufficient. His faithfulness does not change, nor does his love for us, but sometimes we just need a reminder that trusting him completely is the only way to move forward.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not – as Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
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