Archives For Trials

iStock_000043385558SmallImagine being woken up during the middle of the night and being hauled off by a foreign army to a foreign country. How would you feel? What would be going through your mind?

Especially if you are a believer. I mean, wouldn’t you begin to question God? Where is He? How could He allow this to happen?

I’m not sure Daniel was awakened from his sleep. He may have been taken during the daytime. But he was captured along with three of his friends and taken to Babylon, the ruling power of the day.

No matter how you cut it, they were teenagers! You will need to read the story in Daniel 1. As you are reading ask the following questions.

* So where is God?

* Has God lost control?

* Couldn’t He have kept this from happening?

* Now what?

What I find fascinating about Daniel 1 is that God is the chief actor! Specifically God does three things.

1. God is the one pulling the strings when the Babylonian army invades Jerusalem.

2. God is the one pulling the strings when Daniel receives a special exemption.

3. God is the one pulling the strings when Daniel and his three friends outshine their classmates.

And just think. Many were thinking, “Where is God?” And He was right there all along. Right in the middle of the action. In fact, God was the main actor.

In your own life have you found yourself questioning where God is? Perhaps one day you will realize that He was there all along, right in the middle of it all!

IMG_0089Several years ago our family took a road trip out west. Actually we have taken several. On this particular trip we were visiting the Badlands in South Dakota. To set the stage it was hot and unbearable weather to camp in.

So we planned to leave and drive east until we found a hotel to stay in. Unfortunately as I returned to the car, anxious to leave and get out of the heat, I noticed we had a flat tire.

Of course, flat tires are not a big deal.  That’s what spare tires are for. However, I’m not a fan of changing tires in 100 degree temperatures.

I was able to talk the rest of the family into leaving, much to their chagrin. We had brought along a 12-volt air pump so I was able to put some air in the tire. I knew that with the heat, if I kept driving the tire would stay hot enough to retain adequate air pressure.

Now I am not recommending you try that unless you have the heat in your favor as well as the size of the hole in your tire. Let’s face it, if you have a slice in your tire this will not work.

Be that as it may, we pumped up the tire and jumped on to the interstate. Exits are not close together, but I did stop at the first exit to check the air pressure. It was fine, so on we went.

We finally found an exit with a really nice hotel. In fact, we actually fell in love with the place. It had very clean rooms, large indoor swimming pool, and a nice breakfast.

To top it off there was a full service gas station right across the street which made it easy to get the tire fixed before anyone got up the next morning.

Too often in life we allow setbacks or unfortunate circumstances to dictate our mood. Yes, I have actually succumbed to such things.

But if we had not had the flat tire we would not have found a hotel chain that we wound up staying at again at a future time.

Not only that we had a great time and all of agreed that the flat tire turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

We are several days into 2014. Like me you have your trip planned out, but have you thought about the setbacks? They are coming, and you may have to rewrite your travel plans.

iStock_000019618003XSmallThere’s a common saying, “I’m doing well considering the circumstances.”  In other words, I’d be doing really well if the circumstances were better.

If you are like me you can look back at an unfavorable circumstance that ultimately worked out in your favor.

Stories like this abound in the Bible.  There is the story of Jonah who ran from God.  That is not the brightest thing to do.  Eventually Jonah found himself on a boat in the midst of a violent storm.  Then the men on board threw him into the sea and Jonah winds up inside a large fish.  God used all of those unfavorable circumstances to accomplish His purpose which was for Jonah to bring revival to the city of Nineveh.

Joseph was loved by his father, hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, cast into prison in Egypt, and forgotten.  Yet God used the positive and the negative circumstances, one circumstance after another to bring Joseph all the way to the position of Prime Minister of Egypt.

Your life will likely be the same (excluding the Prime Minister part).  Circumstance after circumstance, good or bad, will be used by God to accomplish His purpose in your life.  It takes all kinds of circumstances to produce the person and the outcome God is after. God has a particular design in mind for you, and He will work through each one until He arrives at the finished product.  His personal development plan for your life will be multi-faceted, but you will like the finished product.

Circumstances.  At times you will wonder what’s going on.  Your patience may run thin as you speculate as to whether God is actually in your court.

He is.

In fact, God is right in the middle of your circumstances!