Posts Tagged ‘adversity’

The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.  – Exodus 14:8

Over protective parents do their children a great injustice.  The caterpillar that lies inside the cocoon will never become the beautiful butterfly if someone cuts open the cocoon prematurely.  It is the struggle itself that allows the butterfly to emerge as a strong, new creature of nature.

butterfly

God understands how necessary this process is.  That is why we are allowed to experience difficult, often life-changing events.  He even orchestrates them- all for our benefit.  What the Israelites thought was a cruel joke when Pharaoh sent troops to pursue them after they had been freed and penned against the shore of the Red Sea because the stage for the most publicized miracle of all time- the parting of the Red Sea.

red sea

 

Generation after generation has heard this incredible story of deliverance.  God puts us against the “Red Seas” in order to show His power in and through us.  If we do not know God can deliver, then we can never learn to trust Him.

Circumstances that go beyond our capabilities of solving them place us at God’s complete mercy.  This is how He likes it.

Do not fear the calamity that comes your way.  If you are faithful to Him in the test, you will see God’s power manifested like never before.  Just as the Israelites were able to sing a song of deliverance, you too will have your own testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness; and you will be able to recall it for others to build your faith and theirs.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Adversity]

 

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Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. – Job 42:3b

job

If there was any one man on earth who had reason to question God’s love, it was Job.  He lost his health, and his wealth- all at the same time.  His friends came to his side only to question his spirituality.  God had already answered the question of his integrity.  Job was described in the opening verses of the book as “blameless and upright” (See Job 1:1).  His calamities were not born from sin.  Job acknowledged God’s right to do anything in his life until one day he could take it no longer.  He questioned God’s motives.

God answered Job, but not in the way he wanted to hear. God answered him with a series of questions that represents the most incredible discourse of correction by God to any human being.  Three chapters later, Job realized that he had questioned the motives of the Author of the universe, the Author of love.  He fell flat before his Creator and realized his total depravity. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

Have you ever questioned God’s activity in your life? Have you questioned His love for you based on circumstances that came your way? Calvary__s_cross_by_joshuapierreThe cross at Calvary answers the love question.  He sent His own Son in replacement for your sin.  If you were the only person on earth, He would have done the same.  His ways cannot always be understood or reconciled in our finite minds.  That must be left for a future time when all will be understood.  For now, entrust your life to Him completely.  Embrace Him in the hard times and the good.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Section One Adversity]

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.  Proverbs 14:4

Busting-Brick-Off-New-Home-2-300x168

photo from the internet

My wife and I run together through a new home subdivision.  Often we see the street filled with red clay from the land as bulldozers clear it to lay a foundation.  The job site littered with lumber, all sorts of trash from the workers, and is generally a mess.  The house looks ugly, it has all its insides exposed as it is being pieced together yet this process is necessary to get to the finished product.  When completed, the home is beautiful.  The landscaping looks like it came out of a home-design magazine.  Everything is clean and perfect in order for the new home-owner to move in.

Our walk with God is much the same process.  Often we must go through a messy period of our lives in which all aspects of it are in disarray.  It is in these times that God builds a new structure.  He might remove some structural timbers in our lives and replace them with new ones.  He might even add on another room.  And unless this process takes place, we will never see the end product.  The goal is more Christ likeness.  In order to achieve this in us, He requires a period of removing all that is not of Him.  It can be a painful process.

christlikeness

photo from the internet

It would be impossible to keep oxen in a barn without having to clean up the mess from time to time.  It just comes with the territory, but the result of the oxen is an abundant harvest.  God may be allowing a mess in order to ensure a fruitful harvest in your life.  Learn from Him so that you might experience the fulfillment of His purposes for you in these times.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Section One Adversity]

 

 

…Everything is against me!

Genesis 42:36

Jacob had come to the end of his rope.  He had lost Joseph.  Simeon was in jail in Egypt.  Now, in order to free Simeon, Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest son, would have to go to Egypt.  It was more than Jacob could handle.  Jacob could not see the years of preparation for what would be the most exciting time of his life and the life of the nation.  daybreakThe darkest hour is the hour just before the day break.  Jacob was in his darkest hour just before God’s daybreak in his life.  God’s big picture is often too big for us to comprehend.  The heartaches don’t seem to add up, but Jacob was about to understand the big picture.

Eventually, Benjamin along with Jacob’s other sons learned that their brother Joseph was second in command in Egypt.  Joseph revealed his identity, and Jacob was reunited with his son whom he had not seen more than 13 years.  He had thought, Joseph to be dead.

telescope_kidSo often we believe our dreams are dead.  There seems to be nothing left in our world to live for.  Everything appears to be against us.  During these times, God is performing a deeper work in each of us- a work that cannot be seen.

When client began leaving my ad agency and it dried up for no apparent reason, it appeared “everything was against me.” I could not see that God was orchestrating a whole new calling on my life.  At the moment, it see_the_big_picture_elephant_232345seemed like the worst thin in the world.  It seemed that I had been a failure.  But God said, “No, All the years before had been preparation for what God’s ultimate calling would be.  One of God’s methods for directing His children’s steps is through drying up resources: a job loss, a career change, or a disaster.  In these times we are willing to listen more intently, and to seek God in ways we would not normally do.  C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

[Source: Today God Is First, Os Hillman]