I have been saved for twenty years. Believe me when I say that I know how Christians think. I know how they talk. The ole’ redneck exclaimed, “I ought to know. I are one!”
Life is full of trouble. Every man born of woman (and that is all of them) is of few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1). The Bible also states that the afflictions of the righteous are many (Psalm 34:19). Christianity is not a powerful vaccinations from trouble. If Jesus Christ were a haven from trouble, He would be sought as a savior from danger and ill, not a Saviour from sin and death. Indeed, the soul needs a Saviour!
When trouble comes, the average Christian often takes this view:
“I have been on the mountain and my prayers have been answered. God is blessing my life. My devotional life is strong, and I’m living for Christ. I am faithful to church and seeking to live Godly. THEREFORE, my present trials are the attempt of Satan to hinder me.”
I do not necessarily disagree with this rationale. There is Bible for that. Paul said, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (I Thessalonians 2:18)
Why would Satan live in the suburbs of Spiritual Apathy when he is not needed there? To be effective, he sets up shop across the street from First “missions-minded, soul-winning, Spirit-filled, holy-living, revival-seeking” Baptist Church! Satan does hinder the church as she seeks to fulfill her purpose!
The first view, therefore, is retrospective. We look back across the landscape of that which we call “circumstance” and believe that Satan has been hindering us and thwarting our onward advance. It is the belief that we are being attacked because God did something spectacular in our lives.
However, there is a second view, and one in which I hope to impress on your heart. Suppose that we look at our trouble, not in retrospect, but rather in faith. Suppose that it was not Satan that schemed our demise but rather God that was scheduling our future success! Suppose that we look forward rather than behind. Suppose we believe that “bad things” are happening in our lives because God is setting the stage for great things in our lives!
This is the recipe of Romans 8:28. This seminal verse of Scripture uses vaulted ideas such as, “We know,” and “all things” to suggest that God uses the past to build our present security and our future success. “And we know that all things worth together for good.”
In the Bible when God’s people were going through great difficulty, LOOK OUT! God was setting the stage to do something special!
Consider that Joseph was oft-afflicted before his ascension to greatness in Egypt…and that Noah preached 120 years almost convert-less until helped arrived in the Ark…and that Abram and Sarai went childless until after the midnight hour of barrenness…that Moses endured worldly success, ostracism and obscurity until God showed up in fiery bush to reveal godly success through His power and miracles…and that Gideon was seemingly relegated to ultimate defeat by his diminishing army but won the victory with but 300 faint, yet pursuing soldiers…and that God used David’s desire, zeal and burden to form the future success of Solomon’s Temple…and that Israel sat in 400 years of spiritual darkness until the Light of the World illuminated the Judean sky at Bethlehem!
You see, just maybe, your trials today are not the “equity” of yesterday’s blessings but rather the “investment” God is making in your future usefulness! Just maybe your “circumstances” are working against you, so you think, but God is working for you!
Faith lays hold of the solid rock and believes to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). Take a moment and muse on your view. Do you see burdens as retroactive or the guarantee of tomorrow’s best? It’s not “mind-over-matter;” it’s called faith. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1), we learn that all may change, but Jesus never. Glory to His name! Jesus never fails!