Henry Blackaby once observed, “Faith does not eliminate problems. Faith keeps you in a trusting relationship with God in the midst of your problems.”
Problems and challenges may accompany our days, but our faith recognizes that God has a plan for our lives. Jesus invites us to pray, “Thy kingdom come thy will be done.” God’s plan for our lives might not be in alignment with our desires. We may be disappointed when we don’t receive the answer to the prayer we’ve been offering for either a promotion at work or a car loan. But it shouldn’t collapse our faith. Ravi Zacharias said, “Faith is confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and in his power, so that even when his power does not serve my end, my confidence in Him remains because of who he is.” Our faith recognizes who God is – He is sovereign.
Our faith also recognizes that God has a bigger plan than we do. He has a plan for the world. When missionaries Paul and Silas wanted to go to Asia they were prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6). Then in a vision from God, a man from Macedonia begged Paul, “‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’” (Acts 16:9). Those words changed the direction of the missionaries, and of the Christian movement. The man in Paul’s vision led the missionaries to an incredibly fruitful ministry in cities like Philippi and Thessalonica. In the moment we may be confused by what’s going on in the world around us, but God is always up to something good. We can agree with Corrie ten Boom who said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
We long to know what the “will of God” is for our individual lives. We also wonder what God is up to in the world around us. Joseph, the son of Jacob discovered that both plans were at work in his journey to Egypt. Sold into slavery by his cruel brothers, Joseph eventually received the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Seven years of fruitful farming was to be followed by seven years of famine. Joseph was placed in charge of food administration in Egypt. The gracious Joseph was reunited with his family during the famine, and he had the privilege of spending time with his father before he died. Afterward, Joseph’s brothers came to him with fear, “…and they threw themselves down before him. ‘We are your slaves,’ they said” (Genesis 50:18). Joseph replied to their contrition with the words, “‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’” (Genesis 50:19-20). Joseph released his brothers from their sinful actions. How? He saw the big picture of his individual life and the bigger picture of what was going on around him in an economically challenged world. We can too. It helps to remember God’s promise.
“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” (Romans 8:28). Whether the negative circumstances are socio-economic, political, or personal, God can take our worst reality and make it into something good. Didn’t God do that with the cross? Through something terrible our Lord made something beautiful. God is up to something good – something good for us. We can always trust Him!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.