March 5, 2013
Either He Planned It or He Permitted It
"He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross, ... refining them like gold and silver..." Malachi 3:3 (NLT)
I wasn't happy with the turn of events in my life. In fact "not happy" didn't begin to describe my emotional free fall.
Devastated. Petrified. Paralyzed. Lost. Angry. Disbelief. Even somewhat crazed. Now those adjectives described me.
"Not me!" I continually repeated. Never in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed that my life could end up here.
During this time of near inconsolable anguish, my cousin sent wise and comforting words: "Remember, either God sent it or He has allowed it."
Her words helped me understand God was in control and there had to be a reason behind this circumstance.
Either God sent it or He allowed it.
I found myself contemplating this phrase. It made total sense. Slowly, peace replaced anguish. Acceptance replaced anger. Submission replaced unbelief. Could God be allowing these circumstances to change something in me? Was God granting permission for me to go through this fire for a specific reason?
Malachi 3:3 is a picture of a silversmith purifying the precious metal. God shares this word picture to let us know that He is the silversmith refining us; He's who burns away the dross, which is something that is base, trivial, or inferior. In other words, not necessary or helpful.
Most of us would agree that life's trials can feel like a punishment. Major disruptions seem like they're meant to make us miserable. The truth is, God transforms us with each trial we experience. He is removing the "dross" or imperfections from us. Each time we survive a major ordeal we grow stronger, wiser, more prepared for the next challenge. We are conquerors and overcomers with God's help.
Ordeals, hardships, distresses are permitted by God for our perfection. Either He permits them or He plans them. If God has intentionally laid out a troublesome path for us, He has a purpose.
But it's not always about us. God might place pain, suffering or distraction on our path to teach others about His love, steadfastness, and mercies. The way we react to stress reflects what we believe about God, and allows others to see His faithfulness.
Few of us are immune to desperate circumstances. But sometimes they are the best way for God to perfect us. He wants to display us as His showpiece to give the world hope. We don't always feel good about God's higher ways. They hurt. They stretch. I know. I have felt the pain, the pull, the piercing agony.
However, if God plans my circumstances, then I have to trust He has a purpose. I believe He sends "assignments" so we can show the world that He is worthy to trust and has good plans. If I model confidence in Him, I'm announcing to the world, with my actions and attitude, our great God knows exactly what He is doing with my life.
Nothing compares to knowing and trusting the Lord is in control ... especially when everything around me feels unstable. He won't permit or plan something difficult for us to walk through without having a greater purpose behind it. One that will make us holier, more like Him, and shine His glory. Our experience is not in vain!
Holy Father, the anguish I feel when life slams me seems to be more than I can handle. Give me strength to push on. Remind me of Your peace and keep me focused on the truth that You have a greater plan and purpose. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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From the Pound to the Palace is a children's resource that illustrates how God rescues His own from difficult situations.
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Reflect and Respond:
Think back to a time you faced a difficult hurdle. What was it? How did it affect you? What did you learn from the experience? Can you say today that God brought you through it and you learned deep spiritual lessons as a result?
Consider the lives of great men and women of God. Be reminded that the majority of them grew to greatness through trials and tribulations.
Matthew 5:14,16, "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. ...let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (NLT)
Romans 12:2b, "...let God transform you into a new person." (NLT)
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