Thursday, October 24, 2019

What It Takes To Know You Are In The Right Place

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20

That, of course, is a quote from Joseph to his brothers.  Joseph found himself in many difficult – uncomfortable places during his life.  The conclusion that many of us come to – me included – when we don’t understand why we are where we are is – it is a mistake that we are there.  Surely this is not of God’s doing.  When we are in the center of God’s will – only good things are supposed to happen – right? Pastor Rick Warren said “God is more interested in our character than our comfort.” Ugh! That means that things may not always be pleasant but that does not mean there is not a godly purpose in those things.  It is so easy to judge the spiritual correctness of our circumstances based upon our emotions, ill-conceived ideas about what it means to serve God, or even our human understanding. When that happens – we will always be drawn to the wrong conclusions.  The Bible is replete with examples.  Here are a few to consider.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’  And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:15-18

The army was very real – but the servant had no spiritual perspective on the situation.  When you find yourself in a difficult situation – it is so easy to turn to your own wit and experience and not look to God. We can acknowledge that God is everywhere and He is sovereign, but in the heat of the moment – in the midst of our circumstances – we forget all about God.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ – Mark 4:37-40

Jesus was present in the boat. Some of these guys were seasoned fishermen. Being in a boat is what they did. They knew that they were in trouble.  And Jesus was sleeping in the midst of it. Why would they worry about what was happening when they were with Jesus? He is the Master of the sea – billows His will obey! It is so easy to forget. Like to the disciples to imagine that God is not aware of what is happening.

I [Paul] rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him [Jesus] who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:10-13

When we find ourselves in a situation that we don’t understand – I am not speaking of a consequence of our sin – because although we probably won’t like what is happening as a consequence – it was of our doing – not God’s. We must repent and turn our hearts back toward God. But even then – God is not unaware. When you face trials in life – none of us will be spared from trials – know that you are a child of the King and trust that you are in the palm of His hand. What we need in those times is spiritual understanding and faith in the sovereign God of Heaven. 

When we were in the midst of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina – it was a very difficult place to be and we were in it for nearly 5 years – a volunteer asked me if I liked being in Mississippi.  I thought about it for a moment and then answered, “There is nothing better than being in the center of God’s will for your life. Geography has nothing to do with it. So, yes, in fact, I love being in Mississippi.”  And I would add that physical comfort or conformance with what I might think is right in a situation have nothing to do with being where God wants me either.  Lord that I could see life like Paul – Elisha – even Jesus. So, like Paul, I pray that that God would give you wisdom and revelation. That your eyes would be opened like Elisha’s servant. For His glory and your good.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:17-20

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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