I [Jesus] have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 ESV
Saying good-bye to some really dear friends. Transition in my husband’s office.
At times emotions run wild and I start wondering where is God? I prayed things turn out differently. That my foot would no longer be an issue, my friends would not have to move away, transitions would be less uncertain, and pipes would stay whole…I even figured out ways God could get the glory if He worked these things out my way.
But God’s ways are not my ways. Instead He brings or allows challenges in our lives for our good. Just like I allow my children to understand the challenge of washing their laundry so that they will know how to wash their clothes when they go off to college. God uses challenges in our lives to make us more like Jesus, to teach us to trust Him.
So how do we see God move in life’s challenges?
- Change our thinking. We have to remind ourselves that when challenges come they are not bad, they are opportunities to know God in a new way, to discover something new about ourselves, to find out where we really are placing our joy, security, and hope.
- Pray like Jesus prayed. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane essentially told God what He wanted (for the cup to pass), but He also prayed not “My will, but Yours be done.” May we have the faith to pray that powerfully, knowing God can do anything, but trusting His way is the best way.
- Look for God. Often when faced with challenges I look to myself. I want to be smart enough or strong enough to figure out the best path or the best solution. But God wants me to look to Him. Look for the way He is meeting my needs. Look for the doors He is opening in the midst of the challenges and the lessons I can learn in the midst of them. When we look for God, we will find Him nearer than we realized.
- Look for ways we can be thankful in our challenges. For instance, “Thank You God that our plumbing issue wasn’t a sewer issue, we caught it early, and although it was really close it never damaged our electronics.”
- Rest in God’s promises. The best place to be is resting in God’s promises. They don’t fail. We need to read God’s Word so that we can know His promises. We need to trust Him when we can’t see a way through because He has great plans for us.
So God is there moving in the challenges of life: guiding us, loving us, comforting us, teaching us. May we rest and watch so we can testify to what He is doing in the midst of our challenges.