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1. Either I firmly believe God will somehow, someway work out my circumstances to good, and rest in His promises, or...
2. I get distracted from the comfort of God's Word, by my negative circumstances, and feel compelled to take it upon myself to solve my problem as best I can. Much like Abraham and Sarah... Maybe you can relate.
When God told Abraham and Sarah that they were going to have a baby in their old age, Abraham was eighty-six years old and Sarah was seventy-six years old. (Genesis 15:4)
Knowing they were well past the age of childbearing, they didn’t see how they were going to become parents. But just because they didn’t see how it was possible, didn’t mean it was impossible. For with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
Unfortunately, despite this truth, they chose to jump to conclusions and take matters into their own hands, forfeiting God’s perfect will for their life, for His permissive will.
Instead of trusting God to keep His promise to them, that Sarah would bear Abraham a son in her old age (Gen. 15:4) Sarah suggested to Abraham that he sleep with her maidserant, Hagar to give them a child (Genesis 16:1-4) After Abraham got Hagar pregnant, jealousy and envy consumed Sarah, and their lives became needlessly complicated. Had they trusted God to work out His perfect will in their life from the start, they could have avoided so much tension and heartache.
Though my faith has never been put to the test in this way, I have definitely done my share of jumping to conclusions, instead of just resting in God’s promises. I believe half the battle is first knowing what God has promised. By knowing I mean, knowing exactly what God has promised (by memorizing Scripture) rather than having a general knowledge of what God has promised. And what has he promised me, and you? “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
This means whatever difficulties we face, no matter how awful our situation may get, God’s plan for us is to:
1. prosper us
2. not to harm us
3. plans to give us a hope and future.
Did you know every circumstance God allows in our life is filtered through this promise? And though we may get caught up in the problem before us and feel compelled to fix it on our own, we can rejoice that when we are faithless, He still remains faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13) He will still keep His promises to us. Despite how bad our situation may look, God’s plans are still, and will always be, to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and future. Every problem we face. Every time.
Next time you find yourself in troubling circumstances, be encouraged:
When God’s people, the Israelites, were cornered at the Red Sea and watched in horror as the Egyptian army charged towards them, just then God used Moses to part the Red Sea making a way of escape, for them, when none seemed to exist. (Psalm 71:2) “With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) Just as God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, despite how our circumstances appear, He can create a way when none exists.
Is there anything troubling you today? Rest in God’s promises to you. (2 Corinthians 1:20) As someone once said, "Never place a question mark where God has put a period." His plans are, and forever remain, to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future. Every problem. Every time. Don’t let your circumstances, or anyone else, tell you otherwise.
For more encouragement on successfully dealing with problems, check out Charles Stanley's great book, "How to Let God Solve Your Problems: 12 Keys for Finding Clear Guidance in Life's Trials."
Question for you: What are your go-to promises you cling to when you get surprised by discouraging circumstances? (If you haven't yet memorized your go-to promises I highly recommend it!)
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Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.