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Saturday, July 14, 2018

God won’t change your circumstances

This is an ugly and uncomfortable, inconvenient truth. To put it in a modern way, it sucks.
If we’re in a season of grief for any reason, life ordains that the journey is designed to break us in either of two ways: brokenness becomes hope through endurance, but it is nonetheless a putrid journey, or brokenness becomes resentment through despair.
This article is about the choice we take in choosing which side of the dividing line we’ll fall.
Psalm 13 was emblematic of my initial grief journey, a voyage into the uncharted territory of loss where maps just didn’t exist. I was given the compass of good counsel. I had the desperation of a soul sick without God. I was fed on the hardtack of rejection. I grasped the wheel of discernment daily, and many days wrecked me by failures to read the turns. So many days I wished that God would break through upon the horizon to release me from the hell of my circumstances. He never did. Grief was unabating, just more sea mist broke over my bow as my craft plunged through the waves that bludgeoned my soul, bringing me to repent without strength again and again before the Lord. Sails tethered by ropes gnarled by long service, my rigging was battle weary, those sails ripped in places, yet the winds blew as tenacious gusts incessantly.
But the voyage was necessary to teach me
something I could not have otherwise learned.
It’s so hard to keep going when the hope of the horizon
continues to fail to meet its initial promise.
Grief causes us to abandon our perception that God can be used for material blessing. The nature of grief is we must hold to a promise that won’t come true, but in holding to that promise, which is the alleviation of our suffering, we make it through… as Churchill said, ‘if you’re halfway through hell, keep going!’
God uses our grief to teach us He is more than a giver of release, of blessing, of comfort. He is more. He is Sovereign. He is just. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise. We control nothing. We have partiality. In grief, we’re powerless, so limited in our knowledge and wisdom.
We never have any idea what we’re missing
before we sail the intrepid storm of grief.
It’s good that we finally arrive at the ports of acceptance
along the journey to the ultimate destination.
Those ports of acceptance are arrival points on the grace-growth journey. Softly does the soul come to rest in the acceptance of what cannot be changed nor controlled. A depth of spiritual maturity comes as a gift for having no further demand of God.
What a blessing it is to become aware
how much we attempt to manipulate God.
It’s a very good thing that God will not change our circumstances. He uses this to crucify the last vestiges of self in the discipleship journey that brings us from the practicalities of death to eternal life.
We think we know what we need, but our wants invariably are an abuse of who God is. If we insist that God listen to us and do what we say He do, we pretend we have a control we’ll never have, and we entertain a futility that is stark in its madness.
So, at the precipice at the Valley of Decision, truth garners the spirit, and compels the choice — for God or against God. We think the choice is about us. It is not. It never is. It never was.
Choose to go against the grain of our petty nature, and we do what is necessary to move through growing in the passage way of grief to a restoration better than we would have once settled for.
Go the way of ease,
that is an ultimate hardship.
Instead, go the way of hardship,
which is the ultimate peace.
I cannot help but admit that the title of this article seems hopeless.
But the very great truth is:
God won’t change your circumstances
because He wants to change your capacity.
If it wasn’t for our pain, we would never grow and mature. I have known too many people, not least myself, who have been transformed because of their pain, because they submitted to and trusted God.
We have to be careful, however, not to be transformed the opposite way, in bitterness or through sorrow that breaks us, through insisting God change the circumstances our very lives, in this season, call us to live.

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