You think it’s bad now–hang on it could get worse!
Last week I spoke on the topic of PUSH–Persevere Until Something Happens. This was part 3 of Pastor Chris’s 3 part series using the acronym PUSH. First we learned about Pray, then Praise, and then finally Persevere, until something happens.
Of course what we want to have happen is that God will answer our prayers quickly, and preferably in the way that we believe is the best for us at that moment. But that is not often what happens. Sometimes God makes us wait. Sometimes He leads us down a completely different path. Sometimes He reminds us that indeed, life is not fair and just when we thought things could not get much worse, in fact they do.
In my reading last week I encountered this portion of scripture from Jeremiah 12. Just before this, Jeremiah is asking God why the wicked people around him seemed to be so prosperous and so happy. He points out that while he is trying to follow and obey God, these same happy and prosperous folks are plotting to kill him. Jeremiah is discouraged and he goes on to question God’s sense of justice. He reminds God that not only have the people turned from God, but even the land itself and the very animals have disappeared in the face of the evil and destruction.
God’s words here struck me. Instead of answering Jeremiah’s questions about justice and reminding him that in time He would punish the wicked as He promised, God says an interesting thing. He asks Jeremiah a question in return. In effect, God says–look my friend, if you think you have it bad now just wait. It’s about to get a whole lot harder. If you can’t handle racing against other people, what will you do when you have to race against something faster and more powerful? And if you can’t manage to stay on your feet when you are walking on flat and open ground, tell me what you are going to do when you end up with all kinds of obstacles in your path? You are crumbling in the easy parts of life.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of life’s deep waters, even when we are very close to God, He doesn’t always answer prayers the way we may want. And sometimes when things in life are really, really hard, they actually can get worse!
But in the midst of this–in the toughest parts of life–we need to keep our eyes on God. We need to remember that He is sovereign in ALL things. We need to trust Him because He knows more than we do about every situation. We need to persevere until something happens. What happens may be that God will change our circumstances. Or He may change our perception of our circumstances. Or He may allow our faith to grow bigger. Or He may simply force us to wait and trust.
When I study the Word of God each day, I answer a series of questions on the passage. The final question is: If I took this passage seriously what would it mean for my life? For me, it would mean that in spite of much injustice in this world, in spite of sorrow, hardship and pain–in the midst of all of that–I don’t have to be afraid of the future because God is in control of it all. And as for justice, the truth of the matter is that God has forgiven me much. If He dealt with me as I justly deserved I would be in pretty big trouble!