We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.
Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Maybe someone who should be doing good to you is doing you harm.
A friend betrays you or a parent hurts you deeply. A child becomes terminally ill. A church member betrays you. A spouse walks out for good.
In all these things our hearts rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows, or even cares.
I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by the very people he was on mission to help. Speared through by the Auca Indians.
In an instant, her world changed. Her husband was gone and she found herself a widow. Her children were fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices:
to see God as a loving, wise Father who always does what is best for her or
to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God.
Hear what Elisabeth says:
“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”
We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. A life of faith is a life of trust.
The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They welcomed and walked the hard path through faith. The surrendered their life to His plans.
- Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.” Problem was, Abraham had no idea where he was taking her. Only God knew where that would be.
- Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
- Hannah felt the pain of barrenness. She longed and prayed for children while living under the provoking taunting of her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
- Mary risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.
“It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.” ~Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?
When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning: the “fruit” of the spirit of the “fruit” of the flesh.
The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.
When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.
We are living under the gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. How can we doubt Him? In child-like faith, we accept whatever He chooses to give knowing that though it looks bad and sometimes is hard, it’s for our own good and His glory.
If you are discouraged today and fearful, remember the God who loves you and is in control, and pray for faith to trust Him.
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