Have you ever had a circumstance you thought was impossible to overcome? Sometimes we find ourselves in situations because we have really messed up and sinned. Other times our circumstances are not of our making, and we are the victim of another’s sin. I have found myself in both of those positions. I did not understand how I got in the mess I was in at the time and because of the consequences I suffered, I really wondered if God would ever use me again.
I later realized it was an experience that served to make me stronger as a person, stronger as a Christian, and stronger in my faith in God.
There is something exceptionally difficult in not understanding why something is happening to us. Reading the twenty-third chapter of Job makes it clear that Job, an upright man who loved and reverenced God was having a hard time in the midst of his horrible circumstances (that were not due to his own sin or of his own making- see Job 1).
Regardless of how you arrived at your own time of trial, perhaps like Job you want to talk to God face-to-face and present your case to Him. You might wish for an audience where you would hear from God and He would tell you the reason these things have come into your life. You think it might make it easier if only you understood.
David was someone who also had impossible circumstances at times in his life. Some of them were not of his own making (being hunted by a fearful and jealous King Saul) and others were direct consequences of his own sin (adultery, murder, poor parenting, idolatry). David also shared his thoughts of despair; we see this in his Psalms of lament and sorrow. David always found his bearings and focused on the goodness and faithfulness of God in his times of trouble, even when suffering consequences for his own sin.
I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord. Psalm 40 1-3 (NASB)
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.What can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:4 (NASB)
What we can learn from both Job and David is our afflictions always have a purpose. Each trial is allowed by God. He uses them to break down our self-sufficiency and to grow our faith.
In Psalms 42 and 43 David laments about his soul being downcast and then he reminds himself to put his hope and trust in God. This will be impossible if you only look at the circumstances, you have to look beyond the pain to what God is accomplishing in it.
Think back to how God has already ministered to you in other circumstances. God delights in showing us that nothing is too hard for Him, there is no circumstance that is hopeless. He is able to intervene in your mess, He is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes God waits until we are at the end of ourselves and He grants us repentance. Other times He is merciful and the trial ends quickly.
In either case, James 1 tells us we are to count it all joy when we face trials and tribulations that come from within and from without. As we suffer in the midst of them (regardless of their origin) we are to see them as an opportunity for joy.
(That is a very tall order for a weak and sinful human being, isn’t it?)
I am not suggesting to rejoice in your sin (Romans 6:1-3) if that is what has brought you into impossible circumstances, but to rejoice in what God does in you as a result of your sin.
Nothing is impossible with God.
One way to find joy in your impossible circumstances is to focus on the good in the lives of others that will come out of your time of trial. Have you considered that what you are presently enduring will be used for the benefit of other people? How could God be using it in someone else’s life? Are they seeing you respond in faith? Are you returning again and again to the Word for your comfort and strength? How much spiritual growth is taking place that will be used for the benefit of some other struggling Christian down the road?
Do you see how God is being glorified in these circumstances? How He could be? You won’t unless you are clinging to Him.
So here is my encouragement to you today: run to Him, call out to Him and He will answer you.
Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;You have given commandment to save me, For You are my Rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3 (NASB)
“Behold,God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,And He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 (NASB)
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. Psalm 56:3 (NASB)