I have friends who have lost things in the past couple of years-friends who have lost investment properties, friends who have lost their homes, friends who have been laid off from work, and friends who have had to significantly downsize their life and make adjustments because of the economy. I have had people I know and people I dearly love lose loved ones or suffer significant trials in their life because of sickness or disease. When people are suffering from setbacks like these it is not only difficult on them, but it is difficult for those that love them. In that way, it’s been a tough couple of years for Renee and I. We have had so many people we know and love experience hardships.
What can possibly keep anyone sane, stable, and even confident that things will eventually work out and get better through these kinds of trying times? I can only answer that for myself. I have been through these kinds of times. What kept me in a good place? The simple answer is “The Lord.” That isn’t answer enough for people that don’t know the Lord well enough for it to make sense.
The longer answer is this: The world is full of evil, but not of God’s doing. That is a full discussion in itself, so for now I’ll leave it there. The question might be, “Why doesn’t God do something about it?” The answer is: He always is doing something about it. You just can’t always see that He is. Because you are not God and cannot take in all the intricate details of the big picture of every human being’s life, you don’t have the capacity to grasp all that God is working behind the scenes. He is doing something and one day that will be completely evident.
When people that I know and love are hurting from painful circumstances in their life, I pray a prayer rooted in scripture. I pray, “Heavenly Father, I ask that what the devil has meant for evil, You would turn for great good, and to Your glory! I pray that You will comfort my friends and help them to trust You through this time now and until those days of good appear in their lives!”
In the book of Genesis, we read the story about Joseph. He was the second to youngest of a large family of boys. His brothers were jealous of him and hated him. They made his life miserable and created more pain for him than anyone should ever have to go through. Injustice seemed to be an ongoing part of Joseph’s life. He could have easily cried out to God on numerous occasions “God, why are you doing this to me?” He didn’t because he knew deep down that God wasn’t the problem. He knew God loved him and he knew one day things would turn. I’m sure he could have never imagined how long that would take. But the days of his life being blessed and justification did finally come. He went from being unjustly locked up in jail to becoming the second most powerful person on earth. The wisdom he gained by not letting pain ruin him, but instead develop his character, saved lives-probably millions of lives including those of his own family.
One day his brothers repented to him for the horrible acts they committed against him. Joseph held no bitterness, but instead professed great and sincere love for them. He washed their sins away because of the love and washing away of pain that God lavished on Joseph. Joseph said to them, “You had thought and devised evil against me, but God had always intended to use it for good. He would bring that good to pass and save many lives in the process.” Genesis 50:20 God always had been working in Joseph’s life. He had never abandoned Joseph and Joseph had never abandoned God.
I know how hard it can be when you are going through something difficult, to not feel the desire to cry “God where are you in all this?” But I encourage you instead to pray, “God I know you are with me in all this. I know you love me. I know that you will turn what the devil meant for evil, for good. I love you and trust you and thank you for your grace during these difficult times and thank you in advance for the blessing and insight that will come from them. In Jesus name, Amen!”
“You had thought and devised evil against me, but God had always intended to use it for good. He would bring that good to pass and save many lives in the process.” Genesis 50:20
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.