Ever hit a rough spot in life?
The Bible’s full of people hitting rough spots.
In 2 Chronicles 32, it says that Hezekiah (the king of Judah in the early 700s – late 600s b.c.) had just finished doing what the Lord had asked him to do. In distributing food to the people, in following the laws and commands of the Lord, and in all that he did, he sought the Lord wholeheartedly. He was very successful. (2 Chronicles 31:20-21) Yet it was in the midst of this success that he was invaded by his enemy, the King of Assyria.
The people must have quickly lost hope. I’m sure some said, “We followed God, now this?!?” But Hezekiah encouraged the people with this:
Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
So how should we view our circumstances? The ups and downs of life? Should we look at them as a door…opening and closing to different possibilities? Or should we look at them as an indicator of our spiritual health?
Here are a few things we can rightly say that circumstances are not:
1. Circumstances aren’t a good barometer for how you’re living your life. Hezekiah was following the Lord with all of his heart. He was seeking God wholeheartedly. Yet things were still crumbling around him. There can be a connection with how you’re living your life and the natural consequences you reap…but not always. I’ve heard people say that, when things fall apart, there must be some unconfessed sin in your heart that God’s punishing you for. Thankfully, I don’t think that God operates like that. If He worked off of a scale, and every sin I committed meant I got a given punishment, then my life would be a mess most of the time. I’m so thankful Christ has paid my ransom.
2. Circumstances aren’t a good barometer for how you should plan your life.
If they were, then every time you failed a test, you could assume that God didn’t want you to finish school; every time you got sick, you could assume that God didn’t want you to do whatever you were set out to do; every time you were short on money, you could assume God wants you to do whatever it takes to get more money. Don’t plan your life around circumstances…plan them around what God’s called you to do. Circumstances are complicated. And if you’ll sit down and think through it, you could just as easily convince yourself that God’s leading you to do something as He is asking you not
to do that same thing. Circumstances may
help confirm the Lord’s work, but because of the work of Satan (which God allows…see Job 1.6-12
), it’s hard to know for certain that a given situation is the Lord’s direct work.
3. Circumstances aren’t a good barometer for whether the Lord is with you or not.
Hezekiah’s circumstances, from man’s perspective, looked pretty awful. He was being attacked! But the Lord was certainly with them. Just because you’re under attack doesn’t mean that the Lord has left you. In fact, He may have allowed you to come under attack so that He could rescue you. One thing he clearly loves to do. (see…the whole Bible
If you find yourself in some difficult times, take hope that God’s not left you. He doesn’t do that.
He works right in the midst of the difficulties.
I’ll post tomorrow about some things we can rightly assert about our circumstances. But until then,
Have you ever used circumstances, in and of themselves, to make a decision?
Have you found any of the above to be true in your life?
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