Posted by: S. L. Doss | September 6, 2014

Principles to Live By #7


When you get a new job with a great salary, have awesome co-workers and easy work, it’s not hard to believe that God’s blessings are upon you and that He’s working for your good. But when you have to force yourself to go to a dead-end job each day, your co-workers are plotting your termination or you have too much month left at the end of your money, it’s easy to feel like God has abandoned you or is against you. You may find yourself asking how all this can work for your good or be God’s will for you.

Our steps are ordered of the Lord.

Scripture says that He lights our path and that we are guided by His hand and lots of other statements about how He’s in control and working it all out. But in the midst of the storm, when sickness riddles your body with pain, or when each step takes a herculean effort to keep moving, it’s hard to remember this.

The Apostle Paul experienced a hard life after becoming a Christian. One particular trip, he was shipwrecked on an island far from home. That was bad enough, but when he was at the fire warming his hands, a snake jumped out and latched onto his hand. The natives at first thought that Paul must be evil and the snake was sent to punish him by death. But when Paul simply shook off the serpent and kept going, they were amazed. The situation that seemed so bad was really a perfect opportunity for Paul to share the love of God to the natives. He would not have had a chance to even talk to these natives had he not been shipwrecked, nor would they have been as receptive to the message if they’d not witnessed a miracle themselves.

Okay, I know that was like, centuries ago, but how does that apply now?

Well, here’s an example from this year. My pastor who recently passed away had been very sick for a very long time. He suffered great pain and weakness, had multiple surgeries, and seemed to be in the hospital more in his last year than he was at home. Now, he could have felt sorry for himself, especially when he realized that the doctors could do no more. He could have ranted at God, angry because he wasn’t healed even though he’d served the Lord for 40+ years. But he didn’t. He stayed faithful, trusting God to help him each day. The doctors and nurses were amazed at his attitude, and he had many opportunities to share his faith with the hospital workers. It also strengthened the faith of his congregation, who saw a man standing strong in faith even though he was weak in body. And when he took his final breath, we knew his race was won. We would have not gained the spiritual strength we now have, and those who heard his story would not have, if he had not gone through that dark place.

“All things” means ALL things

Black is such a dark color; in fact, there’s no darker. Any other color in the spectrum, as it gets darker and deeper, will eventually become black. It’s a color we don’t want in our lives because it symbolizes evil, struggle, loneliness, pain, abandonment, and any other negative feeling we may experience. However, a black accent can make a mundane picture vibrant by giving the brighter colors some contrast to emphasize their beauty.

God uses the good, the bad, the strong, the weak, the victories, the failures, the struggles and the triumphs to paint the masterpiece which is our life. The negatives are that extra “umph,” that contrast which makes the blessings and joys, the positives in our lives stand out.

Understanding that everything we experience works together for our good will help strengthen our outlook on life in general and our trust in God in particular. We will understand that God is in the midst of whatever, even the pain. We see Him work, making us strong, drawing us closer to Him, opening doors to share His love with someone else. We can bear the fire better, knowing that it’s not meant to burn us up, but to purify the gold within, to not destroy us but make us beautiful. That in the end, we have always been in His hand, in His will, and will receive the reward He has prepared for us.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28



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