Reacting to Whatever

April 11, 2013
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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


What happens to you may well be beyond your control, but how you respond to trouble is entirely your call.  Though I don’t really believe in what we call luck, either good or bad, there are certain things which happen that are the result of just living in an imperfect broken world.  The front tire of the bike you are riding slips into a crack in the pavement. You are thrown and sustain a badly broken leg.

The stock market falls suddenly and what you thought was going to be enough to last for the rest of your life is suddenly shrunk to a very small nest egg.  The storm struck, flooding through your roof. The result was a pool of water that inundated your floor.  Your company is downsizing, and you are the one who was released.

Nobody likes to have his life disrupted by what some call “bad luck.”  I don’t.  Neither do you.  But I am more concerned about my ability to cope, my attitude and feelings in tough times, than I am in preserving myself from bad things which do happen.

When you are God’s child, you live in a different framework and face trouble differently from the one who feels like an orphan in a big world.  The Bible says that God is sovereign, that there is a limit to what He allows.  It also tells me that because I am His child, I am not exempted from the effect of evil in our world.

When difficulty knocks at my door I am always reminded that God promises to be with me in times of trouble, not necessarily to insulate me and keep me from all difficulty.  I try to remind myself of what Paul declared, that God’s grace is sufficient and that His strength is made perfect or complete through my weakness.  I also strive to remember that we don’t have to see everything, understand everything, and know everything, provided we are following the Shepherd of our souls, who said He would walk with us through the dark valley.

There are times when I force my mind to concentrate, not on the trouble, but on God who is greater than anything I will ever face and the promises He has made to me as His child.  I go back and read about Daniel in the lion’s den, Joseph in prison maliciously accused of sexual assault he didn’t commit, Esther who risks her life for her people, and Paul’s tribulations and troubles.  I read Psalm 23, and 2 Corinthians 4 where Paul talks about being “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8,9).

A closing thought.  When I was a kid growing up, I discovered the thrilling sagas of a western writer by the name of Zane Grey, whose novels were filled with bandits, miners, Indians, buffalo hunters, and desperados.  The plots were all fairly simple and played out about the same way over and over.  It was the good guys versus the bad guys, but the good guy won in the end.  Quite often the beautiful girl was rescued by the hero who single-handedly confronted the gang of desperados and against impossible odds, and won–the triumph of good over evil.  On more than a few occasions I would be engrossed in one of his books when my mother would make an appearance, demanding that the light be turned off and I go to sleep.

Dutifully I would acknowledge her request, turn off the light, then take a flashlight and go under the covers.  Turning to the last chapter I would read the conclusion.  Then, knowing that everything turned out OK in the end, I would sleep.

Not knowing the last chapter, we have to trust God for it and wait, realizing that God is a good God and we can trust Him.  Then we can turn off the light and sleep.  Indeed.

Resource reading: Acts 16.


Bible References

  • Genesis 50:20
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8 - 9