Recently I was asked about life’s good times and bad times, The expression ‘When it rains, it pours.‘ (to describe multiple events of a like or same nature occurring together in a short period of time) came to mind. I was reminded that sometimes we are overwhelmed by life’s events and we wonder whether or not the whole world is against us or if God (and we caveat this in our own minds with ‘If there is a God‘) even cares.
It is in times like these we might tend to sink into hopelessness and despair. It is also in times like these that we may find others giving us sage advice, offering words of comfort, or simply offering a listening ear or a hug,
Personally, I believe God places us into trying times like these for His own Honor and Glory. It is in our weakness that His strength is shown.
Have you ever watched a wrestling or a boxing match? Two mighty champions will climb into the ring and flex their muscles in front of the crowd. They will both show their prowess and agility as they dance around the ring. They will stare each other down and predict a great defeat for their opponent. But whom amongst us is impressed? The real answer is “No One”, and if you answered differently, you didn’t understand the question. All of the bravado means nothing. Oh sure, the fighters may be trying to psych each other out and whip the crowd into a frenzy cheering for them, but this does not win the fight. What eventually gets written about in the history books is when the fight begins and one fighter confidently walks over and takes his opponent out with a single blow. That is the point that the crowd becomes impressed. When they see a great display of strength and skill and prowess.
In some regards, God is the same way in our lives. He can tell us in His word of His strength and greatness. He can show us the majesty of His creation. But what do we do? We do not listen to Him when He speaks and we ascribe His creation to a process He is not part of.
However, when God steps into our lives and demonstrates His great strength and His love and His mercy, that is when we are impressed. That is when we see Him for who He truly is. That is when, in wonderment, we look around and ask “How did that happen?” and the only answer is: “God”.
But there is a condition. You have to let God into the ring of your life. Just like the great fighters who climb into the wrestling or boxing ring will only fight the opponent they are scheduled to fight, God will not take His intervention into someone’s life who does not want it and has not scheduled with Him.
This is why I always become uncomfortable when people start offering people in need advice or comfort. When we try to solve the worlds problems through our own wisdom and understanding, we keep God out of the ring and don’t allow Him to work in our lives and the lives of others.
And more importantly, I believe we rob the individual going through the trial or tribulation. God is trying to show His strength in their lives, not ours.
I am able to illustrate this in a very simple way. Find an atheist and describe God’s goodness in your life. Tell them of all of your experiences with God and what it has meant to you. I can almost certainly tell you that the atheist will point to anything else in the world other than [a] God, to explain your experiences. The atheist doesn’t need your experiences for proof of God. The atheist needs an encounter with God. Their own personal encounter. And the same is true of us when we encounter trials and tribulations. God wants us to interact with Him in a very real and personal way. Not through someone else’s experiences, no matter how similar.
I am reminded of a King who lived a few thousand years ago. This king was the King of Israel. And he has been regarded as a great King indeed.
King David experienced his own set of trials and tribulations. He may not have known the expression “When it rains, it pours”, but he would almost certainly identify with its sentiments. King David allowed God to work in his life during these times. He sought out a personal encounter with God in the close confines of the ring of strife within his life. And King David walked out with his own answer as to how to address troublesome times. Not someone else’s answer. Not the answer of some program, or a counselor, or friends. He walked out with a personal answer from God.
I like King David’s answer. God asked him to write it down for us. And he did. King David’s answer to troublesome times in his life is this:
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. King James Version.
King David simply had to remember that it was THE LORD who was his Shepherd. It was THE LORD that was doing the leading. It was THE LORD that was restoring his soul, leading him in the paths of righteousness. It was all about THE LORD and nothing about him.
How about us? When we find ourselves in times of trouble do we invite a Holy God into the ring of our trials and allow Him to show us His strength? Do we make it about Him? Or do we stand there in our own bravado and face the situation without Him?
Do you want to prove to yourself there is a God who loves you and wants to show you mercy? Invite Him to show you His strength the next time you face trials and tribulations and you will have your proof.