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Friday, August 16, 2019

God Uses My Problems for Good

In review of 1 Peter 1:6-7 this morning, I'm reminded, Even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials . . . This is no accidentit happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold” (PHILLIPS).

This verse reminds me that my faith is more valuable than gold. Trials have, are and will happen. It’s no accident. Trials happen to refine and prove my faith

Trials are part of the refining process in my life that burns away impurities and prepares me to meet Christ. As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off. Likewise, my trails, struggles, and persecutions refine and strengthen my faith which makes me useful to God. So instead of asking why these trials happen, I should respond with (1) Confidence that God knows, plans, and directs my life for the good. God will always provide me his love and strength. He will lead me to a better future. (2) Perseverance when facing grief, anger, sorrow, and pain. I express my grief, but I don't give in to bitterness and despair. (3) Courage because with Jesus as Brother and Savior, I need not be afraid. He who suffered for me, will not abandon me. Jesus will carry me through everything.

Life is not a series of random, freak accidents. Life is not totally unplanned. Life is not without meaning. God knows what’s going on.

God is weaving the tapestry of my life, and it includes light and dark threads—happy and sad times—to produce richness and texture and color. Nothing can come into the life of a child of God without God’s permission. Everything is Father‑filtered.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that everything that happens to you in life is God’s perfect will. That’s just not true. There are a lot of things that are not God’s will. If you go out and sin, that’s not God’s will. If somebody sins against me, that’s not God’s perfect will.

But God does have a permissive will. If I go out and overeat, or If I go out and wreck my body, I pay the consequences. God does not cause evil, and God does not cause suffering. But he does allow those things because they have a purpose. God permits them, and then he uses them.

God is an expert at bringing good out of bad. He could have kept Paul out of prison in Philippi, but instead he let Paul go to prison, and the jailer became a believer as a result. God could have kept Jesus from the cross, but he let him go. He let his own Son suffer and die. Did God bring any good out of that? I’d say he did!

God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. The things I most wish were removed from my life are often the very things that God uses to shape me and make me into the believer he wants me to be. He wants to use that problem for good in my life. There’s something more important than my pain: what I’m learning from that pain. God is in control.

So how should I respond to painful or difficult situations? The apostle Paul says, “Never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NLT).

In summary, my faith is more valuable than gold. Trials happen in my life to refine and prove my faith. Instead of asking why, I should respond with (1) confidence - God knows, plans and directs my life for good. (2) Perseverance - I express my grief, but I don't give in to bitterness and despair. (3) Courage - with Jesus, I don't need to be afraid, he will carry me through. The things I wish were removed are often the very things he uses to shape me and make me into who he wants me to be. He wants to use that problem for my good. 

Father once again, thank you for the encouragement you provide in your word and in my quiet time with you. Help me to respond with confidence, perseverance and courage. You are building my faith and my character and will use this for my good and possible the good of others. I pray this morning Father for healing of my health issues, and I ask for your wisdom and guidance in my work, my leadership and my interaction with others. I ask this in your Son Jesus name, amen.