These are definitely times in which faith – true faith – is tested. On the one hand, it seems troubling to us as we find ourselves being forced to leave behind those things that have been for so long comfortable to us. If we are honest, we will have to confess much of what we’ve been forced to do without has been a bit of a trap for us in the past as we have been preoccupied by our comforts and trust in ourselves. Such traps are ruts that our daily routines maintained for us as we have pursued our agendas (or those supplied us by the world around us) and only turned to God when some sort of personal calamity strikes.
As it is, we cannot with human wisdom make sense of what is happening around us and to us. We feel as though we are out of control and struggle with the temptation to panic. But the Bible, God’s Word, would have us to remember that any sense of control we ever had has only really been an illusion anyway. Now we are set free to actually turn from our own human perspectives and agendas and turn to God in faith and obedience.
In the past, we have spent much of our time living our busy lives as we saw fit, ruefully promising God that we’ll get to His agenda some day, yet never quite breaking free from the demands of our routines. Truly stepping out in faith and following God was always theoretical to us, yet seemingly impossible because it would mean we would have to break free from our schedules, plans, and priorities in order to get on His page.
We might be tempted to be in panic mode right now, feeling anything but peaceful. However, the Bible tells us, “Now may the God of peace Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV).
What this means is that we are 1) called to do His will, 2) enabled to do what is pleasing to His sight, and 3) given peace in spite of the chaos around us since the perfect and eternal blood of Jesus, the Shepherd of those who place their faith in Him. This is huge!
We are caught up by something bigger and greater than ourselves and are given the responsibility to live the life that His blood purchased for us! That life is a life of calmness, purpose, and high destiny that the problems and trials around us can only help us to realize!
Do you doubt it? Think of this then! “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV).
This means that the interruptions that God has allowed to happen in your life are actually opportunities to step out of the patterns of godlessness surrounding us in the world and to step into the life and love and power of the promises of God! And in those promises is true freedom and victory!
So whether or not we experience problems and even suffering as unexpected detours to greater joy and peace has everything to do with whether we believe God is faithful to the promises He has made to us. If you trust Him, you will experience His love and power working in your life and orienting you to the eternal home that He has prepared for you. Let Him take the reins of your life today and begin to steer you into a new journey of discovering how great His love is for you.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)