Have you ever been in a place or time that you’ve asked that question? I think there’s a good chance that I’m not alone in having at least thought that when facing trouble or difficulty. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about the answer to that question. In my life, I have seen five answers to that question. They are not always so clearly obvious as they will be listed below, and I think sometimes what is happening may be a combination of more than one of these reasons, but this is what I’ve learned:
- What is happening may be the natural result of your own sin. For example, when I had a mini-stroke in March, 2017, that was the result of my own bad choices and sinful pride. I knew my blood pressure was dangerously high, but I ignored it and chose not to follow my doctor’s advice for medication. I have no one to blame except myself for the stroke. A Biblical example of this would be when Samson was overpowered by the Philistines, and he lost his eyesight. (Judges 16) He sinned by his behavior with Delilah and also in telling the secret of his strength, and when he was betrayed and overpowered, it was a natural result of his own sin.
- What is happening may be God’s discipline in our lives. Hebrews 12: 5, 6 says, “My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or lose heart when you are reproved by him, for the Lord disciplines the one he love and punishes every son he receives.” Sometimes this discipline may indeed be punishment such as the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years because of their sin, or when the Israelites were conquered and taken captive because of their sin. However, there are other times that God’s discipline is so that we may learn. The Lord did not lead the Israelites directly out of Egypt to the Promised Land because He knew that they were not ready yet for what would lie ahead. (Exodus 13: 17-18) Another example is when Jesus led his disciples directly into the storm on the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 4) They learned a great deal about who Jesus was and what He could do in that storm!
- Another reason that we may be having times that our testing our faith is because that is what is meant to happen-it’s a test of our faith! The trials of Job are a good Biblical example of that. In this case, we just need to hang on and prove that our trust is in the Lord. I like to remind myself of a quote from Dr. Tony Evans in these times, “Faith is acting like it is so even when it is not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so.”
- Finally, sometimes the difficulty is meant to turn out for God’s glory. Remember when Jesus was asked why the man was born blind? (John 9:1-12) His response was that this would be for God’s glory. Jesus also delayed his arrival in Bethany until after Lazarus had already died so that in bringing him back to life, God would be glorified. (John 11)
I’ve found that when we are in the midst of difficulties, it is not always easy to discern the meaning behind them. However, I’ve also found that if it involves my own sin or something that I need to learn, when I humble myself and seek God’s will, He will always show me what I need to learn or confess and change. But in the other times, it is not always so immediately clear. It is those times that we need to make Proverbs 3:5 our guiding light: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I’m going to leave you with a link to a song that has blessed and helped me greatly through some of my recent trials:
God bless you! Have a blessed Sunday!!