“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
I was discouraged.
I’d really started serving God with all my heart and spending more time in His Word than ever. But instead of circumstances getting better, they got much harder!
In two months’ time, my life went from being wonderfully fulfilling and clicking right along to being completely topsy-turvy.
My computer went a little crazy and some very important documents disappeared.
A big book deal I was excited about fell through.
Our well broke, and we went several days without water.
My kids were much younger then and required more energy than my worn-down emotions had to give. I carried around this sense of guilt for not being a more patient and fun-loving mom.
Then, on top of a host of other interruptions and haphazard happenings, my husband blew out his knee and had to have major reconstructive surgery, leaving him bedridden for nearly five weeks. I felt myself getting caught in a whirlwind of emotions.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. A friend of mine hit the nail on the head when she said, “Lysa, I think when you go with God to a new level, you get a new devil.”
While I’m not sure about the exact theological correctness of that statement, I do know Satan hates the radically obedient soul. He hates it when a person jumps off the fence of complacency and into the center of God’s will. A spiritual battle is raging around us and because of that, life can be hard. While saying yes to God does bring blessing, it’s not easy.
If our desire for obedience is born merely out of duty, we may be quick to give up. Especially when everything in life seems to be going haywire. However, if our desire is born out of delight, out of a love relationship that burns deep in our souls, it won’t be extinguished — no matter the cost.
One of my favorite love stories in the Bible is that of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob’s love for Rachel gave him purpose and perspective, which led to amazing persistence. He served Rachel’s father for many years to earn the right to marry Rachel because he loved her that much: “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” (Genesis 29:20, NIV).
Do you see what love can do for a person’s view of his circumstances? When you are crazy in love with someone, you’ll do anything for him — and do it with the highest level of sheer joy. I want to be so crazy in love with Jesus that not only do I serve Him, but I do it with absolute delight — even when life gets hard and messy.
You see, a real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God for purpose and perspective instead of comfort and convenience.
Trust me, I understand asking God for comfort and convenience, but I’ve seen that often leads me to complacency. Once God solves my issues, I move on and forget to look for lessons I need to learn from what I faced.
But looking to God for purpose and perspective forces me to learn crucial lessons in perseverance and maturity. Then I can understand the meaning of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). This does not mean that everything that happens to us will be good, but that God will work in and through every situation to bring good from it.
And let’s not miss the last four words of this verse, where we are reminded that it is all“according to his purpose.” God has a purpose, and His plans to accomplish that purpose are perfect. Trusting God’s purpose, and seeking to understand that He takes all the events from our life and orchestrates good from them, leads to a changed perspective.
So although it may be difficult to maintain the right attitude with technology on the fritz and a house that hasn’t been cleaned in weeks, it’s important to look to God for that change in perspective. We can trust that in the midst of all the things that seem to go wrong, something will go right.
Dear Lord, I thank You for the purpose You place in everything. Give me Your perspective today as I struggle with some things that may not be going “right.” I know You have a greater plan through it all. I love You and long to live for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:2-3, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Praise can help change our perspective. What can you specifically praise God for today — even in the midst of great trials?