Summer United: Over, Under, Around and Through
Tough circumstances leave us paralyzed and without courage. It seems like we are at a dead end, all alone. Where is God when we feel abandoned in our circumstance?
When facing tough circumstances we pray that God would let us go over, under or around it. We never want to go through the circumstance.
We have to remember that when we go through tough circumstances, we are never alone. God always goes with us. God uses what the enemy uses for harm, for our good. He brings us through tough circumstances to change us. We get frustrated and impatient because we have dreams and goals, but we miss the development that needs to take place in order to reach them. Great things require great development. God has called us to do great things. Through tough circumstances, He changes us so we can accomplish great things.
God’s #1 priority is not to change your circumstance, but to change you through the circumstance. There are examples of God using tough circumstance to change His people throughout the bible.
Exodus 3:7-9 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
God sees the bad circumstances of His people in Egypt. He tells Moses he has come to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians. Moses, like us, responds with hope and excitement that God is going to remove the circumstance right away. However, God response is different from the expectation Moses had.
10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “I will be with you…”
Instead of removing the circumstance and bringing the Israelites over, under or around it, God sends Moses to go through it with them. Moses doesn’t want to encounter the difficult challenge, so he questions God. In Exodus 33:12, 14-15 God teaches Moses a lesson from his circumstance.
Exodus 33:12, 14-15
12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me…
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”
God went with Moses through the tough circumstance. In your tough circumstances, you are never alone because God is going with you. You can have peace knowing God is with you. Rest isn’t the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
God is preparing you for something unique, which takes time. Sometimes we have to go through tough circumstances. God wants to walk with you because He has a grand desire to change you. However, in tough circumstances we don’t give God freedom to change us. Pastor Scott posed four questions to help us go through tough circumstances and change.
#1.) Where are we not recognizing Jesus in our midst right now?
After Jesus died and was buried in the tomb, his mother Mary went to visit him. What she didn’t know, is that her son had risen from the dead.
John 20:14-15a At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said,…”
Mary had a perspective on what she thought she thought was supposed to happen. She was too focused on the task she wanted to do, to realized Jesus was standing right in front of her. Like Mary, we show up in a circumstance and have expectations. We think God isn’t there with us because He isn’t doing what we expected Him to do. We miss what He is actually trying to do because we think He is supposed to be doing something different.
#2.) Where do we need to forgive?
John 20:22-23 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
The Holy Spirit’s power was given so that we could forgive. The Disciples witnessed Jesus crucified by the leaders. When Jesus was resurrected He came back and told the Disciples they needed to forgive people for killing Him. To do what God called them to do, they needed to forgive.
#3.) Where are we putting conditions on God?
Sometimes we find ourselves saying “God if you do ___ I will do ___.” When we put conditions on God like this, we miss out on time with God and resurrection life. God wants to work in our lives, but we aren’t giving Him the freedom or opportunity. Putting conditions on God limits the ways He can move in our lives. When we step back and give God the freedom to have His way in our lives, He can move in and work through our circumstances. Putting trust in God to lead you through your circumstance allows you to live the life He has set out before you.
#4.) Where do we need to focus on God’s goodness instead of our circumstances?
During tough circumstances we may feel discouraged, angry and depressed. We get lost in our circumstance instead of seeing what God is doing through the circumstance.
Jesus tells Peter the struggles he will face, how he will die, and ends with “follow me.” Peter starts to ask why everyone else doesn’t have to deal with the same challenges. Jesus replies, “Let me worry about that, you follow me.” When we follow Jesus through our tough circumstances He is there with us.
God left heaven and came back to help us. He gave us perspective to recognize where He is working, forgiveness to refresh and heal our soul, openness to realize where we have placed conditions on God and worship to focus on His goodness. God doesn’t want to work over, under or around you. He wants to work in you! If we allow Him to work in us, He can work over, under, around and through us. If you are in a tough circumstance, allow God to come get you. He may not remove the circumstance, but He will walk through the circumstance with you!
Listen to the full Podcast:
Podcast- Over, Under, Around, and Through