For some time now I have been dissatisfied with my life circumstances. I have asked God numerous times to change this one area of my life and I often don’t stop there. I proceed to give Him a list of the reasons why this situation is not beneficial to me and all of the advantages there are for granting this request. Sure, I have moments of surrender where I tell God that I will rest in His will, but it is soon forgotten as I am again prodded with another reason why this circumstance should change.
One morning during my quiet time I came across some verses in Psalms that humbled and convicted me.
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You split open springs and brooks;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:13-17 ESV)
I was overwhelmingly reminded of how powerful my God is. How could I presume to tell Him what I think is best for my life? Praying for relief is of course acceptable and encouraged, but the answer may not always be “yes” as Paul tells us here:
Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Corinthians 12:7-10)
So how do we share in the same contentment in our circumstances that Paul did? There are a few things to remember. First, God cares more about our spiritual status than our comfort. As believers, we are in a process of transformation. God allows us to be in the situations we are in for our own improvement, whether He is disciplining us, teaching us a lesson, humbling us or bringing us into something greater. So first, reflect on your life and see if there is a sin in this area of your life that you need to confess and repent of. Whatever God’s purpose may be, find peace in knowing that your Father loves you enough to bring you to a better place spiritually. Second, trust God’s plan for your life. He truly does know what is beneficial for us. Psalm 32:10 tells us that “the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him.” (HCSB) Lastly, find joy where you are at. Even in the worst of circumstances there are blessings to be found. Hold fast to these and remember that God has plan for you and it is a good one!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
What lessons have you learned through life circumstances?