Pastor Philip's Easter message yesterday could not have been any more encouraging for where I'm at right now. I so badly needed the reminder of the fact that God is present in every single part of my life, whether things are going out of this world amazing, or whether I am faced with tests and trials that seem like they are never going to end. God ordains every single circumstance in my life to happen for a specific reason, even things that I look back on with total confusion as to why they had to happen. His timing is absolutely perfect and he uses everything that happens to me, good or bad, to work out for good. Romans 8:24-32 have really become my life verses this past year, specifically 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." Things have happened that have caused me to sit back and begin to question God and ask "why?, what was the point?" but then I'm hit with the fact that I’m questioning God, the creator of universe, about the way that he is ordering my life.. really? Who am I to do that?
Another thing that Pastor Philip touched on during his message yesterday, and really my main reason for this post, was about the way that God uses delays in our lives. He said that sometimes we feel that when we pray to God about something, we are talking into static, that there is no one on the other end of the line, that God isn’t listening to our heartfelt cries…so not true. There is a purpose behind everything that God allows in our lives, and there is a specific purpose for the way that he answers each and every prayer that we offer up to him. The thing that stuck out the most to me from the message yesterday was when Pastor Philip said that when God delays in answering a prayer, it doesn’t mean that he hasn’t heard our prayer, or that there is a problem, it simply means that there is a greater purpose to be accomplished, that can only be accomplished through the delay. Through the delays God develops our character, he causes us to cling tighter to him and further submit our lives and our will up to him. Through the delays he is formulating a greater blessing than I could ever imagine, and something that will bring him more glory than if he were to allow things to work out in my way, in my timing. God’s way and Gods’ timing are so much better, though I struggle with believing and accepting this time and time again.
Trials come in life to help you grow in your faith, to add something to your life that wasn’t there before. It’s so easy to question God when things in life start getting tough, or when things don’t work out the way that you planned, but God is so much greater than our trials and ultimately uses them to bring him more glory through the testing of our faith. 1 Peter 1: 6-7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I find it so comforting to be reminded of the fact that God uses the trials in my life to refine my faith, and make it so much stronger than it was before. My genuine faith in him is more valuable and more precious than gold. How cool is that? If you are going through a trial, “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2-4. There is a purpose behind everything that happens in your life, there is no such thing as coincidence or happenstance..there are no flukes or accidents..God allows everything that happens in your life for a specific purpose.
Things may happen in life that make absolutely no sense to you, that cause you to question if God momentarily checked out of your life when something was happening to you, but I assure you that God uses everything that happens to you to bring about his perfect work in your life. That has been one of the biggest lessons that I have been learning lately. God is bigger than everything, bigger than anything you will ever be faced with in life. He is the God of the impossible. He delights in bringing things to fruition in your life that appear to be absolutely out of the question, and beyond impossible according to human reason, because it is in those things that he is able to best display his power and ultimately receive the greatest amount of glory.
I’ll end with a quote from the devotional book, Streams in the Desert, a book I HIGHLY recommend…“The disappointments of life are simply the hidden appointments of love.”