Yesterday, in Adult Sunday School, we were discussing the reasons God might have for allowing trouble into our lives.
- to teach us patience
- to teach us to trust
- to make us mature in our faith
- to give us an opportunity to explain to others the reason for our hope in God
- to cause us to depend on God.
In a recent blog I said that our earthly parents raise us to eventually become independent. But our heavenly Father raises us to become increasingly more dependent on him.
- Throughout biblical history we read about Abraham and Sarah, being well past the age when child-bearing could happen. Yet Isaac was born.
- Hannah longed for a child to give to her husband, Elkanah. His other wife mocked Hannah because she could not get pregnant. Yet God gave Hannah a son, Samuel.
- Gideon started with an army of ten thousand, yet God pared it down to a mere three hundred men.
- Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions, yet God shut their mouths so they could not devour Daniel.
- The Hebrews escaped the Egyptian Pharaoh, only to be trapped by the immense Red Sea. But God parted those waters and let the Hebrews pass through.
- God used a young and beautiful Hebrew girl to soften a brutal Babylonian king so that the enemy of the her people would not be successful in annihilating her entire race.
In all of Biblical history, we see the impossible happen. God delights to show His people that what is impossible for men is possible for God when we rely on Him, not our own strength.
My favorite Biblical hero is Joseph. The favored, youngest son of Jacob, he had a dream in which God showed him that one day his eleven older brothers, and his mother and father—what arrogance!—would all bow to him. Sold into slavery by his brothers, he languished as a slave and eventually, a prisoner before he was ready to be used of God in a mighty way. Because he was in the right time at the right place and had learned to see life through God’s perspective, he became the instrument through which the Hebrews were saved from starvation.
These things happen so that men cannot praise their strength and ability. In each case, the glory goes to God alone. Soli Deo Gloria!
And in each of these cases, God works through one of His own to ensure the protection and survival of His chosen nation, Israel. And to ensure that the promised Messiah will arise out of Israel.
Is it possible that these Biblical accounts could be our stories, as well?
In can be when we recognize the hand of God in all our moments, good and bad, and how God causes them to work out for His glory.
Joseph had to come to the realization that his brothers and parents were not going to bow to him to bring him glory, but for the working out of God’s plan of salvation for the Hebrews. And ultimately, our own salvation!
Are we also called for the ultimate purpose of someone else’s salvation? What would that look like in your life?
Has the Lord allowed challenges in your life? Could it be that He wants to bring you to a state of complete dependence on Him?
“Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10 NIV Bible)