Nothing just happens. Yes, some things are beyond our control; but nothing just happens. Because there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3: 1), all that we have done, all that we are doing now, and all that we will do in the future fits into God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Be encouraged. Our steps have been divinely orchestrated by a loving God who always has our best interest at heart (Psalm 37: 23-24; Jeremiah 29: 11).
THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSPECTIVE
Perspective—the manner in which we think about our lives and our circumstances—significantly influences how we go through challenging situations. For this reason, we must align our thoughts with God’s thoughts (1 Corinthians 2: 16). Regardless of what we are going through, are we viewing things from a God perspective rather than an understandable, yet selfish, human point of view? While it does not change the reality of going through, it helps to know that there is purpose in going through.
YOU DID NOTHING WRONG
One of the most common responses to going through is to immediately ask ourselves: What did I do to deserve this? While facing various challenges, we assume that we are being punished for our wrongdoing. This, however, is not always true, especially because God does not do things like we do (Isaiah 55: 8-9) or respond to us based on our shortcomings (Psalm 103: 8-13). Therefore, going through is not always synonymous with receiving a celestial scolding. One of the best illustrations of this principle is through the life of Job, a man who did nothing wrong (Job 1: 1, 8) yet he experienced significant hardship (Job 1: 13-19; 2: 7).
Because going through is not necessarily punitive, we should consider it a privilege when we experience various difficulties because they exist to make us better (James 1: 2-4). In fact, the mechanism by which the Lord develops our Christian character (i.e., The Fruit of The Spirit; Galatians 5: 22-23) is by allowing us to endure uncomfortable and difficult seasons. In other words, to grow in kindness, he places us in situations in which we must practice being kind to others. To become more patient, he gives us opportunities to exercise patience—perhaps through marriage or raising children. To be more loving, God purposely places us in the company of those who are not easy to love so that we would learn to demonstrate the sacrificial and unconditional love of Christ. And here’s the best part: God is so committed to developing each aspect of our Christian character that he gives us ample opportunity to grow until we have been fully perfected!
So the next time you’re going through, rather than assuming you did something wrong (because you probably didn’t), consider the aspect of your Christian character that God is perfecting.
YOU CAN HANDLE THIS
Also noteworthy from Job is that God carefully chooses who will go through (Job 1: 8; 2: 3). And because nothing catches God by surprise, not only does he choose who will go through, he also places limits on what we will go through (Job 1: 12; 2: 6). In other words, because he loves us and knows us, God will never give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10: 13).
So as difficult as it seems today, you will get through this. Although you feel that you can’t, you’ve felt that way before and you’re still standing. And not only are you still standing, you’re stronger, wiser, and better than you’ve ever been! Friends, the next time you’re going through, be encouraged. Like Job, God has chosen you because you can handle it!
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
John’s account of Jesus traveling from Judea to Galilee (John 4: 3) contains a seemingly insignificant detail in verse 4: He had to go through Samaria on the way. In other words, although Samaria was not his final destination, he had to go through it to ultimately get to where he was going. And so it is with us today: the temporary circumstances in which we find ourselves are simply part of the journey to reach our predestined destination.
Consider this: going through Samaria had less to do with Jesus than who he met while at the well: a Samaritan woman—someone with whom he was not allowed to interact based on Jewish law (vv. 9, 27). But because Jesus has always been focused on changing people’s lives, he defied tradition and engaged in a meaningful conversation with the woman that changed her life (vv. 7-29). In light of this, what would have happened if Jesus didn’t go through Samaria? Well, the woman would have missed a divine encounter with the source of her total fulfillment, rather than the temporary satisfaction that came from physical water and her many failed relationships (vv. 13-18). So if Jesus didn’t go through Samaria, it wasn’t that he would have missed anything; but the woman—the one who needed him to be in that place at that time—would have missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in his presence and receive all that she needed.
Like the woman needed to meet Jesus as he was going through, there are people who need to meet you as you’re going through. So rather than complaining about how difficult things may be, change your perspective. Think about those whom the Lord has purposely placed in your path. Think about how you can positively impact someone’s life. Because your steps are ordered, know that where you are is exactly where God wants you to be. Although it’s not your final destination, God has placed you there for a reason; not only for you, but those whom you will encounter as you’re going through.