Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, the biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering. Because of the Bible, we can be certain:
God is in control (Psalm 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His rule and authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them to run their course. Although we cannot know for certain if He has sent a catastrophe or allowed it, we can trust in His goodness and wisdom.
The Lord loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of the world proves without a doubt that He loves each person. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior. He cares for us, even when we can’t feel it or won’t accept it.
God works circumstances for His good purpose (Isa. 46:10). Though we can’t fully comprehend what He’s doing in each incident, every disaster is a wake-up call for humanity. God is alerting us to the need for repentance—so the lost can be saved and the saved can be revived to live totally for Him. The Lord wants to get our attention, and catastrophes open our ears to hear from Him.
The One who loves us perfectly is in full control, working everything out according to His plan. Knowing this should fill us with hope, even in the midst of crisis situations. The Lord promises to turn disaster to good for those who “are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
God’s Spirit indwells believers at salvation, which means His power is available from that moment (Eph. 1:13). God created a simple way for us to access that strength every single day.
First, we must accept the truth that in and of ourselves, we are powerless to live out God’s will. No matter how capable we may be, our own strength and wisdom are insufficient. Sometimes Christians become prideful about the good they have done or the number of years they’ve been saved. Imagine how much more we could serve the Lord if we would humbly get out of God’s way and let Him work through us.
Second, we surrender our entire life to the guidance and governing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we choose to conduct our spiritual walk—as well as our vocation, finances, family, and relationships—as God desires. His Spirit is not going to release supernatural power into a life that is continuing in rebellion.
Third, we exercise faith, which means demonstrating belief and trust in the Lord. Faith is the “switch” that releases the Spirit’s power. It’s like saying, “I believe You’ve got a plan, God, so I’m going to trust You to give me what I need in order to do Your will.” Then He will move heaven and earth to provide for your need, whatever it may be.
Merely memorizing and reviewing the steps isn’t enough. Instead, commit to these principles as a way of life. Get used to thinking, I can’t but God can— I’ll submit to His will because His plans are for my good and His glory. That’s the kind of life that overflows with the Holy Spirit’s power.
Trials and tribulations have the power to either keep us from abundant life or produce in us character that sustains abundant life. The choice is up to us. Will our faith remain steadfast in the face of trouble or will we abandon the lifestyle of faith for one of the world?
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Allow the phrase, “Count it all joy” to settle in for a second. What trials have you faced in the past? What trials stand before you today? Is joy the emotion that stirs up within you when you think about your problems?
My first instinct in the face of trial is to run. I long to abandon the problems before me, to act as if they don’t exist. But Scripture commands me to count my trials as joy and run at them head-on for the sake of being transformed into a faith-filled, steadfast child of God. God sees trials as a chance to produce character within me, not as a circumstance intended to harm me or derail his plans for my life.
The greatest gift we’ve been given in the face of trials is faith. When problems are staring at us head-on it’s hard to see around them to the beneficial outcome God intends. In order to face trials the way God intends, we must have faith. We have to believe that God has an outcome as beneficial as the trial is hard. We have to have faith that God will see us through every problem that stands in our way and produce in us a steadfastness on which we can experience abundant life.
Hebrews 10:35-39 says, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” May we not be a people who shrink back but stand on the firm ground of God’s promises. May we be believers filled with faith founded on the faithfulness of God.
Spend time in prayer allowing God’s word to fill you with fresh perspective about your trials and tribulations.
In eternity past, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit planned and created heaven and earth. Yet even before Adam breathed his first breath, the Lord knew sin would enter the world, causing mankind to be separated from Him. However, a plan for our redemption was already in place, and in the fullness of time, the Son of God came as a baby and lived on the earth.
The Lord doesn’t do anything haphazardly. Every plan of His is predetermined and meticulously carried out at just the right time. And this truth doesn’t apply to just the big events in human history. Since He has a specific plan for every believer, He works to accomplish His goals in each Christian’s life. He ordained the day of our birth, has complete knowledge of what each day will hold, and knows how long we’ll live on this earth. And just as He did when Christ was born, God will, in the fullness of time, execute each part of His will for your life and mine.
However, although His plans for us are good, the only way we’ll see His purposes fulfilled in our life is by submitting to Him. He’s promised to work all things for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
Are you letting the Lord have His way in your life? Even when the need seems urgent, a person with a spirit yielded to God waits patiently for the heavenly Father’s plans to unfold at just the right time. The One with complete knowledge and wisdom knows what He’s doing. Wait for the fullness of His time.
God Is Sovereign Over Delays
No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? Perhaps it’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause—like a traffic light or the long checkout line—ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.
This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.
In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment—not just about the big events in our lives but also about trivial ones, which can cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we are sensitive to His instruction, each delay has an important lesson.
The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
When deciding whether or not to go on a long vacation with a friend, a few things are carefully considered, including interests, expectations, and personalities. After all, we want to enjoy the trip and keep the friendship intact.
As we travel through life, our minds know that we have God traveling with us, but it is easy for our hearts to forget and feel disconnected, especially when our requests are not fulfilled.
Jesus understands. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup would pass away from Him and it did not. Although Jesus surrendered to the sacrifice, it was difficult beyond words. Whatever situation you find yourself in, He is with you. Like the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we can cry out to Him in the midst of any mess or consequence we find ourselves in, whether or not we caused it. He is here. The winding journey of our lives can bring us closer to Him, if we will allow it to.
We weren’t meant to be somebody—we were meant to know Somebody.
Praising His Name
Jesus’ request as He looked to the cross was that He might glorify His Father. (See John 17:1) That is to be the desire of our hearts as well. From the moment we wake up each morning, and then as the day unfolds and as news of tragedy or success reaches us, our request is to be, “Father, glorify Yourself.” In the simplest tasks as well as in the hardest ones, a Christian’s longing should be to reflect the Lord to others.
When we pray for His glorification, we’re saying, “God, do whatever will bring You the greatest honor and make You known to the world.” It means that we are also surrendering what we want the outcome to be. God in His sovereignty will choose what will bring honor to His name. And whatever happens, we are to believe He has done just that.
It will come as no surprise to hear me say we live in a world that doesn’t always give God the honor due His name: There will always be some who reject the Son of God and refuse to believe in Him. But our desire should be the same as our Father’s—for people everywhere to know the perfection of His character, which never changes.
God calls us to praise His name and reveal Him. We honor the Lord as we worship in our churches, as we testify to His work in our lives, and as we proclaim the truth of His holy Word in our communities.
By our attitudes, actions, and words, we have the privilege of revealing our loving Father to a world that desperately needs Him. Let us join together, united in love, to give Him the glory.