When Bad Things Happen to
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted
up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and
they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD.
They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt
that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done
to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in
Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would
have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the
wilderness." (Shemot / Exodus 14:10-12; ESV)
Life can be difficult at times. Circumstances have their way of
throwing all sorts of unexpected obstacles in our path. We may find
ourselves climbing the ladder of success only to find ourselves at the
dizzying height of the top of the wrong wall. Our mistakes, intentional
or not, can hurl us to unanticipated and undesirable depths.
Disappointments zap our energy away, at times to the point of despair,
and we wonder if it will ever be worth trying again.
There is a startling statement found in the New Covenant writings
that goes like this: "And we know that God causes all things to
work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called
according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, New American Standard
Bible). This statement actually claims that there are some people in the
world for whom God causes "all things to work together for
good." Whatever your take on the Bible is, stick with me for a
second. Do you see what this is saying! The Master of the Universe
purposely ensures, for people who love him - the "called" part
is not adding an extra category of person, but rather is simply
describing one of the aspects of a person who loves God in that they are
called according to his purpose - God ensures for these people the
eventual positive outcome of every circumstance of life.
This is not to say that every circumstance of life is good. There is
nothing here about making light of life's hardships nor is there any
encouragement to play psychological games with reality. Bad things do
happen to those who love God. But step back and look at the big picture:
the end result of everything that happens to these people is good. You
may have heard the saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,
but this is better than that. It's not up to us to make the lemonade.
God is the lemonade maker. Everything that happens to those who love God
are like ingredients in his hands for eventual good.
Before we go further, this statement does not apply to everyone. This
grand statement is designed to help those who have been made right with
God through faith in the Messiah of Israel to engage life as we should.
Those whose hearts are turned away from the Messiah have no such
guarantee, but you can make that change right now.
Whether you just now decided to give your life over to Yeshua the
Messiah or you have walked with him for years you can be certain that
God is out for your good irrespective of whatever you may be going
through right now.
We must be careful not to judge our circumstances wrongly. While some
of the bad things that happen to us are our own fault, that doesn't
nullify God's guarantee of eventual good. God himself will often lead us
right into difficult situations just like the people of Israel when they
faced the Red Sea with the Egyptian army on their tail. They wrongly
interpreted their circumstances to mean that God was out to get them.
They couldn't see that they were on the brink of one of the most amazing
things that has ever happened in history (if you don't know the story,
go read it for yourself later).
We shouldn't play down how difficult it must have been for the people
of Israel to keep a positive perspective in the midst of such an
impossible situation. But that's the point. God wants us to trust him
even when everything around us seems to be horrible with no way out. If
Messiah was raised from the dead, then there is no situation in which
his people may find themselves that cannot eventually result in our
good. I think realizing that would make a big difference in our lives.
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