God delights to give His children the good things they ask from Him. Why then are there times when we don’t get what we want in life? One reason is simply that we aren’t asking Him for good things. That could mean that we aren’t praying at all, and we don’t get what we ask for because we aren’t asking. That could mean that we are praying, but what we are asking for isn’t good for us to get. Whether it’s the wrong thing, the wrong track, or the wrong time, God loves us too much to say “yes” to all of our requests that we would regret in the end. When He acts differently than we asked, it’s always an upgrade.
God is at work… Through every trial and trouble. Through every problem and perplexity. Through every heartache and hardship. What is God doing during these times? He’s teaching you to look to Jesus, and transforming you to look like Him. When you face adversity, don’t give up hope, because God hasn’t given up on you. You may feel like everything is falling apart, but He’s actually putting you back together again so you can feel, think, speak and act like the person you were born to be. When you look back, you’ll find this to be true: your circumstances may not have changed, but you certainly have.
Darkness isn’t just the time between dusk and dawn; it’s also any time you are facing the unknown. This is especially true of those seasons of suffering when the light at the end of your tunnel is nowhere to be seen. It is during those times that you must not give up hope. For even on those dark days when you can’t see what is up next, what step to take next or how anything good will come next, hope remains. Jesus is still there and Jesus still cares! Ask Him to give you the faith and inner strength that is needed to endure. And though the outer darkness may yet linger, the Son will rise and shine His light in your heart.
Our motive. Our mission. We need to communicate these two things to others when we show them love through the way we treat them. First, we need to let them know that the good we do for them comes from appreciation for what God has done for us and anticipation of what God will do for us. It is from the overflow of what we get from Him that we give to others. Second, we need to let them know that we do good works because a good God has commissioned us to go in His Name to share His love with others. Let us credit Him by telling people this… God has done good to me. God has sent me to do good to you.
The enemy of your soul doesn’t care about you. His only interest in you is as a victim. He wants to “steal and kill and destroy,” and a primary way he attempts to do this is by leading you astray. How? By making sin look attractive, and obedience seem restrictive. He wants you and me to believe that sin isn’t sin, that sin is worth it, that sin isn’t that serious, and that sin won’t cost too much. Jesus leads our lives to deliver us from sin and deliver to us abundant life now and eternal life later. When He calls us to follow Him in loving obedience, it is not because He’s a tyrant; it’s because He intends to set us free from one.
Let’s be honest about something: oftentimes our lives are a mess. Busted. Bruised. Broken. Things don’t work out like we hoped they would no matter how hard we work at things. In times like these, let us not lose heart! This is our hope in Jesus: the best is yet to come. Let us believe it, expect it, anticipate it and await it to come true because Jesus said it’s true. Let us watch for the daily doses of His grace to appear when we need them. And let us regard the eternal pleasure of heaven with Him as something wonderful on the calendar that is certain to come at the appointed time. Because it is. Because it will.
It’s a fact. It’s a certainty. It’s a promise. God will provide for your every need. But He often won’t do this in the way you think He will. Instead, He will astonish you with a “didn’t see that coming” choice of the 81st way you might have thought He’d come through for you. It may come through a shepherd boy instead of a warrior, an ark instead of fair weather, a few fish instead of ample supplies, a manger instead of a throne. But it will come exactly when it is needed to accomplish exactly what is needed. Today, expect God to work in your life for good. Just don’t expect Him to do it like you think He will.
Health will thrive and decline. Leaders will come and go. Portfolios will gain and lose. Relationships will flourish and break. Careers will advance and falter. Pleasures will intensify and fade. Only the steadfast love of God for us in Christ will remain forever. It stays with us through the good and bad, the highs and lows, and the gains and losses of this world. Let us anchor our lives to the unchanging, unending faithfulness of God’s love for us, knowing this: It will never decline, go, lose, break, falter or fade, but will endure to the end of this life and extend into the life to come where it will thrill us forevermore.
God’s love for you does not rise with every new entry on your resume’ and does not fall with every new entry on your rap sheet. God’s love is not based on your performance as if He only cares about you when you get it right. You are loved; not because you are perfect, but because you are His. You are valued; not because of what you have made of your life, but because you were made by Him. You are treasured; not because you cross off items on a checklist, but because Jesus died on a cross for you. God will continue to shape you into the person He made you to be. But He deeply loves the person you are today.
It’s easy, common and right to feel and say how good God is when the trouble was avoided, the trial has ended or the treasure is received. Oh, how good He is to us! But when we don’t get what we want, or when we get what we don’t want, God is still good, and God is still good to us. His goodness doesn’t disappear when hard things appear; it shines ever so brightly as He works for us to provide all the help we need to endure life’s disappointments, detours and disasters until we get to the other side to something better. Praise Him! For truly… God is good all the time. And all the time God is good.
If there is one thing you can be sure of, it is this: people will hurt you. It may be accidental, or it may be intentional, but it will happen. There will be things said and left unsaid, things done and left undone, which bruise and break your heart and spirit. But there is a sweet-like-honey truth to overcome the bitter taste of how others treat you: Jesus is not like others. He is a friend who will never betray you, abandon you, disparage you, neglect you, exploit you, condemn you, harm you, mis-prioritize you, belittle you, mistreat you, lie to you, pretend with you, or withhold love from you. He will only do good to you.