1Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 2I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 3He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! —Psalm 57:1-3
There are too many people (Christians among them) who have fallen into the trap of thinking prosperity and blessing equal God’s favor. And conversely, when life is hard, God obviously doesn’t like what we’re doing and punishes us. Often it is unstated and vehemently denied, but if we look at how we live, it appears we believe it to be true. Success in life is measured by how much stuff we have. Bank accounts, educational achievements, zip codes, and number of Facebook friends have become the measure of success. We might eschew the prosperity gospel from the pulpit, but we embrace it in real life. How do we do this? Simply by entertaining the thought that hardship in a person’s life must mean God’s favor is absent.
It seems Christians really struggle with the truth that hardship may very well mean God’s favor on our lives. Strange to say, but that statement is the first thing I’ve written here that can be found in the Bible. Just look at Hebrews 12. And Ezra 4 also proves the point that we do exactly what God tells us to do and things can still go terribly wrong. It proves God will allow bad things to happen even when we follow His ways. And sometimes we won’t know why. The Jews were experiencing real frustration in having their vision to re-establish worship stopped in its tracks by lies, threats, and political maneuvering by evil adversaries. And it is obvious from the narrative that God did nothing to stop the circumstances creating the frustration. The Israelites didn’t know why. They simply had to trust God. Period.
Though the purposes of the Jews were frustrated, God’s purposes were not. In the midst of the frustration, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2). And what are His purposes for us? To set us apart from the world, know His power, and trust Him. Frustrating circumstances force me to trust that His ways are far greater than my ways.
God’s purposes will be accomplished whether I’m experiencing good times or bad. So, life may be really hard right now, and yet we may be doing everything right. Be patient and trust God! He is simply doing what He needs to do to accomplish His purposes while asking you to trust Him in the process.
- Do the hardships in my life make me wonder if God is punishing me for something?
- How does trusting God with all my circumstances free me from any anxieties?
Prayer – Almighty Father, I know Your ways are higher than my ways, but to be honest, sometimes I feel like I do everything You ask of me and my trials continue to come. Please forgive me for doubting You and believing the lie that You are angry with me for something. Help me to lean into and trust You more and more each day as I pass through this life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.