I’ve asked God to intervene in my life. I have prayed that He would “show up” and reveal His will and lead me in the right direction. Literally hundreds of times, I’ve asked for instruction and guidance and miraculous revelation, because I earnestly desire for God to speak directly into my circumstances.
But I don’t often stop to ask, “What does His guidance LOOK like?”
When I hear his voice–will I recognize it?
When God is moving, will I know it’s Him, so I can follow?
Most of the time, I ask for guidance and direction when I’m in the middle of suffering. I want God to lead me over the obstacles and out of the pain. When I ask Him to reveal His Will, I mean, “God, please show me what I need to do in order to stop this struggle!”
And, yes, a vision of an angel or a handwritten letter in my mailbox would be great.
Under this view of God, I assume God is “really moving” when I start to feel better. The sign of God’s presence is when the clouds begin lifting and I can see the sun again.
For me, suffering is always bad and only comes from Satan. Which means God’s role is to come through and rescue me anytime the Bad Guy starts to get the upper hand…
…but this has been a wrong view of God.
It is WRONG to believe that God doesn’t cause calamity, disaster, and suffering, because the Bible plainly says that everything is under God’s control.
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these.
When a trumpet sounds in a city,
do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
has not the Lord caused it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?
Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
These are not verses that were cross-stitched on your grandma’s pillows. They don’t make for good fortunes inside your chocolate wrappers. Furthermore, when you go looking for encouragment or positive thoughts on social media, you probably don’t mean for your friend to say, “Hey, always remember that God sends disaster and adversity as well as sunshine and rainbows!”
We don’t want to medidate on the truths of God’s Sovereignty–and we’re uncomfortable blaming Him for our personal “disasters.” But that’s a big part of our problem!
We’re afraid of GOD, so we have created a safer, less-powerful one to worship instead…
When we ask God to “show up,” we don’t really mean it.
We don’t want the God who surprises us, challenges us, and reveals our weaknesses with a terrifying urgency. We don’t want a Mean God who takes away our pacifiers and security blankets, because we don’t want to wrestle with the hard questions about why He would do that.
When we invite God to intervene, we actually want affirmation from an easily-controlled god–who sits on his throne simply waiting for a list of wishes he can grant to make us feel better.
But we reject the all-powerful God who knows how to give good things, including the pain of suffering when it’s needed.
Some people might ask, “How can I trust a God who causes disaster?!”
You mean, how can we rest in the knowledge that God knows better than we do?
In response, I ask the reverse question: How can you trust a god who has given his control and power to Satan? How can you trust a god who has tied his own hands and allowed sinful humans to boss him around?
How can you trust a god who gave Satan the driver’s seat?
I declare to you today that MY GOD IS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT. He brings only good things–but those good things include calamity, disaster, and fleshly suffering. My God is more powerful than Satan. The buck stops with my God.
When I beg God to intervene in my situation, I’m forgetting that He never left. He sees my suffering. He permits it. He ORDAINS it.
He has been here, doing his God Thing, completely in charge of the events of my life, the entire time. When I experience pain and fear and suffering, it does not mean God has given control over to Satan.
Yes, humans still have free will to make choices, and much suffering is the result of living in a sinful world. But God is still driving, even when it feels like He gave the wheel to someone else. (He didn’t.)
I’ve been praying the wrong thing: asking God to take away the things Satan has planned for me, instead of THANKING God that HIS plan is better than mine…even when it includes struggle.
This is both terrifying and comforting. You mean God has been “leading” and “revealing” and “guiding” all along–even when it felt like He abandoned me in silence? Yeah, that’s what “Sovereignty” means.
The buck stops with him.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But it is a comfort to know that God does. He is the God of laughter and tears; the God of light and darkness.
Our personal disasters are NOT signs that God has retired or surrendered his control. Hallelujah.