When things are difficult, confusing and you are struggling, do you ever wonder who’s in control? We all want to be in control of our situation, however no matter how hard we try, we cannot control everything…actually, we can’t control much of anything. What about God? Is God in control? As a Christian, the correct answer is, “yes!” However, do you sometimes wonder how there can be so much hate in the world, abuse, addition, evil and chaos if God truly IS in control? Here’t the thing, God is always “in” control, but God doesn’t always “take” control. We have free will. God doesn’t control the quantity of food you eat, your screen time, how much Bible you read, or how you spend your Sunday. And you don’t really want God to be a control freak, micro managing your life; however, you do like to call upon him to take charge of the situation when there’s a special need or concern. You are willing to hand him the remote and ask Him to do that God thing! However, it doesn’t work that way. When we are in a difficult situation, we often ask, “Why is this happening to me? How long am I going to have to deal with this?” We want God to step into the situation and deliver speedy a definitive results. But, that’s not usually the way it works. Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions. Perhaps our focus is all wrong. By asking the right questions and changing our focus we can navigate life’s trials with confidence and hope.
Scriptures – Philippians 1:12-18
Verses – As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (Ph 1:13-16) But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…(Ph 1:18)
Thought – Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. While his friends and fellow-Christians were asking, “When will you be released?” Paul, had a different focus. Although he knew it was unjust and he was in a difficult place, his focus was, “What is my purpose here?” Paul knew God would use the situation for advancing the Gospel. Because of Paul’s imprisonment other believers boldly stepped up to preach the Gospel. Others who were not fans of Paul actually wanted to cause him more grief, but they still were preaching the Gospel. Paul’s response was, “What does it matter?” Paul could see that his situation was beneficial because more and more people were hearing the message of salvation. When you are in the midst of a difficult situation, times are tough, and you don’t know who is in control, don’t bemoan your lot in life and spend precious time in self-pity asking, “Why me?” Change the question. Ask God, “Why am I here? How do you want to use this situation for your glory?” Face your situation with God. Focus on his purpose. It will change your outlook, your direction and your attitude. Good Vibes.
Questions – When have you asked God, “Why me? or Why now? or How long?” What was your situation? Were you able to change your focus to how God was working, rather than what you were enduring? In what area of your life do you need to ask, “What does it matter?” How do you keep the situations that DO matter from weighing you down? How can you share what God offers to those outside the faith when they are struggling?
Response – Make a list of your struggles. Prayerfully ask God “What does it matter?” regarding each item on the list. Let go of the things that don’t matter, and ask God to show you how to respond in the situations that do.
Prayer – Gracious Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the good you want to bring about through me and in me, even when times are tough and the way forward seems uncertain. Allow me to rest in the knowledge that you are in control, but you allow me to make choices. Help me to make the choices that will honor and glorify you. Walk beside me, Lord. I choose You! In Jesus Name, I pray, amen!