I am so full of blog ideas that I don't know which blog to begin in! I have some ideas on items I can make and sell, and now I have ways I can incorporate the Gospel into them! I see God working in so many areas and so many ways, I could write on that blog about the wonders of God. But for right now, I am going to just write about things I am thinking about today, at this moment, which happen to be about how people who have come to Christ and are born again, seem to lose sight of God because of their circumstances.
How easy it is to depend upon our circumstances to dictate to us whether God loves us or not. I used to do this all the time, before I was grounded in the word. We really do need to be grounded in God's word or we will not see Him as He is, and we will form our own ideas of what we think He is. Of course, the devil will come along and add things to our false belief system that sound plausible to us at the time. Add the devil's lies to our already false belief system and we set ourselves up for disaster.
Moses was a man who really did not know God. He knew about God because of his ancestor's encounter with God. But one day, all that changed. Moses was not a young man anymore, and he was living in the land of Egypt, even though the Promised Land was promised to the ancestor's by God. Moses was used to the ways and thinking of the Egyptians, and he knew that they worshiped many gods that were false gods. Moses even defended one of his own people by killing an Egyptian who was fighting against the Israelite.
One day, Moses noticed a bush that was burning, yet it was not being consumed. As he came closer, God told him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. God was going to begin the process of setting the people free from the slavery of the Egyptians, and God was going to use Moses to confront Pharaoh and the Egyptians concerning their departure. But God also warned Moses that Pharaoh would not easily let them go. As God was communicating with Moses, Moses asked God what His name is. God told Moses to tell the people that "I am That I am". As the process began and continued, Moses began to have struggles with Pharaoh and with the Israelites as well. There were times he wanted to quit. Then we look at the Israelites. They thought the idea was ok at first, but as soon as problems came about (which they always do), they wanted to give up. They even doubted God. At times, they doubted Moses too.
Life was very discouraging for Moses and the Israelites. You have to understand, that these people did not yet have a good understanding of who God is. They were about to learn, but they threw in the towel before they had the opportunity to fully follow out the instructions God gave them. As a result, they ended up spending an extra 40 years in the wilderness, when they could have been in the Promised Land. They weren't ready for the Promised Land yet.
Moses struggled with Pharaoh. Moses struggled with the Israelites. Moses struggled with God. Yet, in the end, it all worked out although Moses himself never entered the Promised Land because he was angry with the people and struck the Rock twice, when he was supposed to only strike it once.
How do you think Moses felt during his adventure? I think many people assume that everyone lives happily ever after, especially if they know God, but is that true or is that just a fairy tale? It is a fairy tale for it is at the end of the classic story called, 'Cinderella'. Do you think Moses always was filled with faith? I don't. I think he got discouraged and had doubts at times. But God was faithful to what He had promised, even though the Israelites were not faithful to God.
Or take Joseph, for example. God has revealed Himself to Joseph in some dreams already. But Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was one of Daddy's favorites (remember Jacob had two wives; Leah and Rachel. He loved Rachel, but he wasn't thrilled about Leah. Notice Jacob's attitude toward the two son's born to him by Rachel. They were his favorites). Joseph was thrown into a well and taken eventually to Egypt to serve there. He ended up in Pharaoh's house for a while, until Pharaoh's wife accused him of trying to rape her. Then he ended up in prison for a long period of time. Do you think Joseph was discouraged? I would imagine that he was continually tempted to believe that God had forsaken him. Ultimately, he understood that God didn't forsake him, and he ended up trusting in God.
Joseph and Moses were not above being human. They were tempted to turn away from God, just like we are today. They had the devil's lies always before them. There were times of doubt. But God did not forsake them. Just as we have times of doubting God's love for us today, they experienced the same thing as we do. But in the end, they remembered and knew God was with them.
Have you ever felt like God was far away, or that He does not love you? Have you ever been tempted to believe that, even though you had encountered God at one time, that God has left you or forsaken you? I know I have. I think this is a common temptation among human beings.
Before I was grounded in the word, and in my understanding of God, I was one who looked at situations through a black and white lens. If I prayed for something and the opposite happened, even if it were a small issue, I would look at it as if God had forsaken me.
When I was in Child Evangelism Fellowship, we were taught how to do 'open air' work, in which we took the wordless book and used the colors to tell the Gospel story with. We learned to pray for God to provide people for us to talk to before we went out. Well, I did that some times, and people did come out to talk with. One time though, I prayed that prayer and went out, and there was no one to talk to. I felt like I was rejected by God. I had prayed for Him to bring people out to talk with and no one was there. I misunderstood how God works, and I was interpreting the situation without the mind of Christ. And that brought doubt into my mind and caused me to pull away from God for a short season, because I thought He was choosing to not work through me for some reason. I felt rejected. But I was the one in the wrong.
Another time came about when I did this very same thing. We had gone through weeks of training to learn how to counsel people after this special meeting was to take place on the church grounds. I went to the trainings and prepared to counsel with people. I remember we were all sitting on a curb, and I was on the end of the curb. When the invitation came, people came up to those who were trained to counsel. No one came to me though, and I felt, once again, utterly rejected by God. I cried while I was there, and the lady in charge had to help me through and counsel me (I was so distraught that I don't even remember anything she said!).
It really wasn't until I understood God's love for me that I began the process of not feeling rejected when things like that happened. God's love casts our fear and unbelief. If we are in Christ, God does not reject us. If circumstances go the opposite way of what we think they should have, we know God is sovereign and we are at peace with that. We do not take that to mean that God is punishing us or pulling away from us. Until we understand who God is, based upon Scripture, we will not understand this concept.
Does God work in our circumstances? Of course He does. He ordains our steps and uses the circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to Him. They are not intended to bring doubt to us. If we don't understand that the devil lies to us and confirms our wrong thinking, then we will continue to live by what we see and feel instead of what is true. Our feelings do not dictate truth to us. Only God tells us what is true.
We might not like our circumstances. God knows that. He understands. But He has a plan and will use the ugly things in our lives to make us depend upon Him more, and also, so we will continue the process of sanctification in our lives. We tend to take for granted the good things God gives us, but when hard things come our way, we question God and His love for us.
I will briefly tell the story of a woman who was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. I will call her Mary. I love giving tracts and talking with the Salvation Army bell ringers, and so one day, I went up to Mary and gave her a tract. Then I asked her a question. I asked her if she had any children, because I had some imprinted items to give to them if she had children to give them to. Just as I was asking her this question, the thought came to my mind that maybe I shouldn't have asked this question. What if she did have children and something happened to one of them? Maybe it would be a sore spot with her. As she told me about her four children my concern was true. She told me all about how her 31 year old son was killed almost a year ago by a hit and run driver while he was on a bike going to work. She rehearsed the whole story in detail to me. That pain must have been hard for her to handle. It was a very sad story indeed, but, as she went on in her story, she told how the Lord met her and helped her. As soon as the deputy (or whoever it was who was in charge of this case) identified her, she asked if there were someone else present who would be with her while she explained what happened. Mary said she just fell to her knees and asked the Lord for help. I think this is where most of us go wrong. We have this subtle idea that things like this don't happen to God's people, so we start questioning and doubting God. But God came through for Mary. He comforted her and provided for everything so her son could have a decent funeral. Mary went into all the details of the Lord providing for different needs that came up with the funeral and burial. (Mary had no money, but God provided money for her to dress her son, pay for the funeral, and all the other expenses that went with this). Mary was not bitter either. She was openly praising the Lord because of what He had done for her during this dark season of her life. I was the one who was crying. She hugged me. We hugged each other. God had obviously carried this woman through this season, and she was not bitter, but healed. It was a lot of pain for her to go through this, I could tell, but the grace of God was there for her in a strong way. Not many come through that type of situation like that!
I intended on sharing the Gospel with her, but she ended up ministering to me! I know God brought her across my path to show me something very hard, but very important to learn. God does not forsake us when bad things happen to us. Conversely, when good things happen to us, it is not necessarily because God is blessing us, although it is possible that He is indeed blessing us with His goodness. God promises sunshine and rain on all of us, even unbelievers. But when it rains, God has not forsaken us, but is giving us opportunities to know Him more intimately.
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ yet, or if you have never put your trust in Him in repentance and faith, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or test4gp.wordpress.com to learn more about salvation. God will never force you to respond to Him, but, all of us will face Him on the Day of Judgment, and if we remain in our sins, He will tell us to depart from Him and we will end up in hell forever. Please consider the seriousness of this situation.