I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I enjoy seeing pictures of my friend’s kids and grandkids. I travel vicariously through others’ vacation pictures.
I hate much of the political rhetoric that I see. I hate repetitive memes that get posted by one friend and then shared by 62 other friends (I exaggerate, but only slightly.) I’ve unfollowed numerous “friends” because I get tired of their never-ending rants.
But I love my friends who post encouraging verses of Scripture, songs and quotes from respected Christian authors. At lunchtime today, I came across this one:
What if the circumstances you’re asking God to change are the very circumstances God is using to change you? – Mark Batterson
How often do we pray for God to change….our job, our house, our spouse (or lack of), our financial situation,… you name it? And sometimes, those are good and right things to pray for. Some of those things need divine intervention.
But have you ever sat back, maybe after praying for “X” for a long time, and considered that God doesn’t want to change that thing. He specifically brought that situation into your life, or allowed it, to teach you something? Or to sand off some of the rough edges of our lives. Or to mold us more into the image of His Son.
See, God COULD just change “X” – but what would we learn from that? Would we learn to trust Him? To depend on Him? To rest in Him? To be content?
I don’t know about you, but I learn a whole lot more in the valleys of life than in the plateaus, or even the mountaintops. The mountaintops are great – we’ve seen God work, we’ve seen victories, we can rejoice and celebrate His goodness. The plateaus are nice for periods of rest, but it’s all too easy to become complacent and lazy on those plateaus.
No, it’s the valleys where we learn to trust in the dark. Where we cling harder to His hands. Where we pray more and listen better. It’s in the valleys where we come to know Him more, and where He makes us more like Him. We need the valleys to help us grow.
So if you’re in a valley right now, if the circumstances you’re in aren’t the ones you want to be in – trust that He is working. He promises us that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30). *
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11). *
Ruth Schmidt has worked at America’s Keswick since 1985. She currently serves as Administrative Assistant to Bill Welte.
* emphasis mine