For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…(2 Cor. 4:17)
Everyone’s life is made up of moments. Some good. Some bad. Some boring. Some unforgettable. Some don’t make sense. Some do.
Think about the moment a baby is born. What a picture of God’s love that He Himself has ordained to be a testimony to His creation for the rest of time. All are witnesses of our Creator whether they know it or not, for even the birth of a human child leaves us with no excuse but to ponder the depths of love and the eminence of divine power. As surely as when a mother looks into the eyes of her newborn for the first time only to be undone forever with an inexplicable love that no emotion could rightly express. And as surely as when a father first holds his helpless infant who bears his image, and he is gripped with unspeakable joy and gratitude, so it is with our God when He looks at us during our entry into existence.
I am growing continuously grateful for these divine occasions in our life that serve as reminders, for these are God moments that bear witness to His endless kindness, power and beauty. Those who want to see will inevitably find the fingerprints of His mercy upon each and every day that their heart is permitted to beat.
With that being said, we all know that it’s one thing to find God’s love and mercy during good circumstances, but to see it in the tragedy is another story. How do these moments ‘work for us’?
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. (Ps. 119:71)
Some Christians shake their fist at God with an offended heart when they face trials wondering why they are going through such hurt while the immoral drunkard down the street was just promoted. Beloved, be thankful and rejoice (James 1:2-3)! If you are going through hell, then be glad that you are GOING THROUGH! Though it’s hard to make clear sense of them in the heat of the process, moments of struggle teach us to lean upon the Mighty One. We learn to trust and depend on Him in the furnace of affliction, and it’s in the fire that we are shaped and refined into the image of Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful that God doesn’t leave me alone, for I know that if He does, that’s when I’m really in trouble. If God left Job alone, nobody would have ever known his name. He would have continued his wayward and comfortable life without ever tasting the depths of intimacy that God reserves for the one in pain (Ps. 34:18). It’s in these moments that don’t make sense that we are given the greatest opportunities to love and trust God, and He esteems it forever. Think about this, though Jesus knew good and well that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still wept with Mary (Jn. 11:33-38). Sometimes He delays breakthrough to express greater love to us and receive greater glory from us, and in the midst of it all, He weeps with us knowing it’s going to be okay in the end.
In this process, we also have to understand that not all pressure is directly from God. Some of it is because of our own sinful choices, some of it is because the Devil really hates us, some of it is because of the fallen world we live in, and some of it is a combination of all of that. Either way, God has the power to use that pressure to mold our mess into a trophy of His mercy and glory when we choose to trust Him.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
Now on the flip side, it is in these other moments where things begin to make sense that God intends to remind us of forgotten truths we let go of when things don’t make sense. For me, everything makes sense in worship. When God is put in His rightful place my thinking falls into place, and I begin to see the world around me with proper perspective. It is an eternal perspective that looks beyond yesterday, today or tomorrow, passed the fading world around us, and into the bigger picture of God’s heart. It is the grand dream of God from before the ages that we would actually know the intensity of the love that He has in His heart toward us. More than anything a father wants his children to know his love for them and for them to willingly return that love. Thus, God not only chose to display His love as a Groom laying down His life for a Bride, but He chose to display His love as a Father giving up His own son for His Family. You can ask me to give up my own life, and I might comply, but to give up my son’s life?! That couldn’t have been easy. But God never chooses the path of least resistance, He chooses the path of greatest glory. The cross was a moment that didn’t make much sense while our bloody Messiah hung naked and lifeless, but we can look back now and deem it as the finest moment in His-story (Heb. 12:1-2).
As we go through life, we have endless opportunities to see God from a new perspective. Same God. Different view. Whether we are on the mountaintop of success or in the valley of struggle, we have a choice to be still and know that He is still God. He is still our Provider, Protector, Prince of Peace and more. Whether it’s during the birth of a child, a marriage ceremony, a financial struggle, or the death of a loved one, look for His hand of mercy today and hold on to it. These moments are screaming from heaven a message for all of humanity, “I love you!”