Is There A Reason For This?

Last night at small group, someone asked about difficult life situations, mentioning specifically our current unsettled time of unemployment. The man who asked is also in an uncertain time and said that he is trying to figure out the meaning behind it... is there a reason for his struggle?

I, of course, had a little mini-sermon in reply. (If you know me at all this will not surprise you). I think it even had three points, the way a scriptural sermon should.

Let me say that I, to this point, have lived an amazingly blessed life, and would never deem to compare my time of uncertainty to whatever hardship you may be in the midst of. But my thoughts on whether or not a current trial has meaning were this:

a) I am BEYOND hard-headed (again, if you know me at all this will not surprise you). Whether I believe my current situation to be from Satan or discipline from the Lord (I have been in circumstances where it was CLEAR to see which was which, or times like now, I have no idea), I will dig in my heels and say, "I'm in this thing, Lord!" I jokingly said I have been known to be like Captain Dan in Forrest Gump -- remember when he got MAD at God and crawled up on the mast, screaming at the Lord, saying, "Is that the best you've got???" Yeah... I've been through times like that. My determination (nice way to say "hard head"), as well as my own life testimony of God's faithfulness through such times, is what keeps me walking toward the Lord when times get tough.

b) The only reason I will ever claim for why something may have happened in my life I find in John 9:1-3:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (emphasis mine)

I gave up a LONG time ago trying to figure out why things have happened in my life -- I have learned that trials may not be for me. They may be for Troy, or for my kids, even for my next door neighbor, or the little boy who lives down the lane. I will never know. But I know that the work of God may always be displayed in my life by the way I walk through the trials, if I will surrender my will to the Spirit during those times. If I miss letting the work of God be displayed in my life, I have missed the only reason FOR SURE that I know of for that trial being in my life. May I not miss it.

c) A story (summarized that I read from a Chicken Soup for the Soul... I think...): a guy is watching his kid's little cocoon on a stick in the jar. There is violent shaking, blood drops... awful struggle. He watches the struggle for a while and thinks he'll help the little butterfly. He takes a pen knife and makes a tiny slit in cocoon. The wings finally emerge from the slit in the cocoon, and the butterfly walks around on the stick for the rest of the afternoon, but never takes flight.

Guy calls his scientist friend and asks why the butterfly isn't going to fly. When scientist-dude hears the whole story, he replies, "Oh... that's the problem. It is in the struggle to get out of the cocoon that the wings become strong enough to fly."

Again... I will never know why I go through some of the things that I do, but each trial allows my wings opportunity to grow stronger so that I can fly higher with each trial, and you can bet that I will be doing all that I can that the work of God may be displayed in my life.

Is it important for you to have reason in your struggle? How do you get through them?

1 comment:

Joni said...

I love your thoughts. Thank you for not offering "You'll know why someday" (trite and bad theology), or "You'll be stronger for it" (trite and, seriously, is that a crystal ball in your pocket?) God is sovereign and he can do whatever he wants! I don't have like it or agree with it...that's part of the him being sovereign part. (I've used this same idea explaining why--usually France--some bad country doesn't want to follow the US's policy direction. They are sovereign nations and don't have to do what we do. Get over it.) God is probably nicer and doesn't say, "Get over it!" but I don't know...some of those Israelite captivity experiences might be his version of "Get over it." You always make me think--Thanks!

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