Learning to Trust series, #6
Adversity (difficulty, trouble) comes to all of us, not only from outward circumstances. It makes sense, doesn’t it, that adversity should come? After all, we are in a spiritual war, either on God’s side or on Satan’s side. Ephesians 6:12 says we are fighting against evil spiritual forces. Verses 13-18 list the armor we are to put on, and the weapons to use.
Satan, as our adversary, “contends with, opposes or resists” all who are on God’s side. He sometimes uses physical obstacles, but often lies, deceives, tempts and distracts us in order to cause us to doubt God’s love and goodness. His goal is that we will disobey God.
I used to wonder, Why doesn’t God shield us from deception and doubts? In attempting to apply Romans 8:28 to this, I could somewhat understand how heartaches and pain could be used for our good. For instance:
We take our little children to the doctor and let the nurse hurt them by giving them vaccinations in order to prevent an illness.
If the child gets a serious cut, we let the doctor stitch the cut so it will heal.
Pain is also often necessary to teach us to avoid certain harmful things.
Just as a child doesn’t understand why a parent stands by and allows further hurt, neither do we usually understand why our loving heavenly Father allows physical pain.
But it is even harder to understand why God would allow Satan to take advantage of our weaknesses and our basic needs and tempt us to leave the path upon which we’ve been following our Lord. How could a Christian become so deceived? If our motive is to do God’s will and show love, why would He allow Satan to lead us astray?
These thoughts can make a person feel abandoned by God. It may feel like all is dark and hopeless—like the light of our lives has gone out.
On May 18, 1980, I lived in Moses Lake, Washington when Mount St. Helen’s blew up, 288 miles away. The path of the ash fallout came right over our town. At noon, it suddenly became as dark as night and stayed that way. I wondered if the sun had gone out and if it was the end of the world. I actually hoped it was, because the “ash” had already fallen over my heart. My marriage was dying and I wanted Jesus to come and take me to Heaven.
Of course, it wasn’t the end of the world. The sun hadn’t gone out. It was still there behind the ash. Eventually, the ash quit falling and God gave people strength to clean up the mess in our town. During the following years, God restored my heart and my life, too.
I love the scripture in John 1:4-5 which says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (RSV). The word here translated “overcome” can be translated in different ways like extinguish or understand. Jesus is the light that Satan cannot extinguish or comprehend.
Jesus promised “Lo, I am with you always,” (Mt. 8:28). Just like the sun may seem to be gone at night or when there is an eclipse, sometimes Jesus seems to be gone. Maybe some sin has come between to block our sight of him. Or maybe he has placed something to block our sight of him for the purpose of our growth or some other reason. Only God knows why he sometimes hides himself from us, but it must be for our good as his Word in Romans 8:28 says.
“I am not skilled to understand,” as this song by Aaron Shust says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNeOmrq37MI but I know now that God is holy and righteous and he knows and does what is best for us. (This url shows the words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96P0bwvpbk4
—Judith Vander Wege
In case you missed them and would like to read them, here are the previous articles in this series about Learning to Trusting God:
4. https://judithvanderwege.com/2016/07/lord-take-control/ #4
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