DayBreaks for 08/05/19: God and Circumstances
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:
I can’t help but think of Joseph when I think of circumstances. It wasn’t his fault his father favored him. It wasn’t his fault his father made him a special coat. It wasn’t his fault God sent him the dreams that seemed to be the icing on the cake as far as his brothers’ hatred of him was concerned. It wasn’t his fault he was thrown into the pit. It wasn’t his fault the Midianite traders came and bought him. It wasn’t his fault he got bounced out of Potiphar’s house. It wasn’t his fault he was in jail and overlooked and forgotten. It wasn’t his fault the plagues descended on Egypt. None of those things were his fault, but they were all part of the circumstances of his life.
I know plenty of people who get frustrated with the circumstances in which they find themselves, and from time to time, I am among their number. And like many of my Christian friends who find themselves in unpleasant circumstances, I will pray and ask God to change the situation. You know what? As far as I can tell (and my perception is as limited as yours), God seldom seems to change those circumstances. Need some money to pay bills? Pray about it…and see if a check shows up in the mail. My experience has been that it seldom happens. Need a change in health? Pray about it. It may or may not come to pass. Praying for someone to continue living instead of dying? If we all prayed about that until we were blue in the face, eventually that person will die – no matter how hard we might have prayed in the intervening time period.
I am reminded of another who prayed for a change of circumstances. He knelt down in a garden and pleaded with God to change the circumstances in which he found himself. And, either God didn’t answer, or the Bible doesn’t record it. Or, perhaps, there is a third option: God did answer with a “No” and Jesus was prepared to accept that answer.
I fear that all too often I’m not prepared to accept God’s “no” to my request to change circumstances. The result in Joseph’s life was the saving of the promised people – the very preservation of their lives through the famine. It was also to build character in Joseph’s life. Moses was no different – he often complained to God about the circumstances in which he found himself along with the rest of Israel. He grew as a result.
Why should we be prepared to accept God’s “no” when we request a change in circumstances in our lives? Because God has a plan. He always has a purpose. We seldom see it – not even in hindsight – but if we are to trust God with our souls should we not also trust Him with what He is doing in our earthly lives?
I am not denying the power of prayer – not for one bit. Just wrestling with the all-too-frequent “no’s” and why they come. There is a purpose. Was there a purpose in God’s denying His own Son’s request from the dirt of Gethsemane? Most certainly! And there is a purpose for the times God refuses to change my circumstances, too. If God didn’t change Jesus’ circumstances, He may choose in His divine wisdom not to change mine, either. Better I should learn my lessons quickly!
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. – Philippians 1:12-14 (NASB)
PRAYER: I’m sorry, Lord, for the times I have grown frustrated and angry with You for not changing my circumstances. Please, use the circumstances in my life to make me more like Jesus so that the gospel can move forward and progress. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>