I have a friend who wouldn’t attend church for many years. He’s 73 years old and—although he would go inside a church for a christening, wedding, or funeral—he never attended a church service. He believed he didn’t have to attend church to believe in God.
He’s not alone there—I’m sure many others feel just the same. I’ll call him ‘Bob’ to protect his identity. As a young man, he was home one day when a car sped past his home and hit a four-year-old boy. It was a terrible situation, and Bob put him in his car and drove him to a suburban hospital. He carried the young boy quickly through the foyer. But he felt the boy’s body shudder and he went limp. He died. Bob was the man who then had to phone this lad’s parents to tell them the terrible news.
I’m sure none of us would have wanted to be in Bob’s shoes. But today, he says, looking back to that tragedy, I should have asked for God’s help.
On another day, as an active builder who flew all around Australia on big and important assignments, he arrived back to Sydney Airport. As he walked towards his wife and children waiting for him, he heard a voice say, You will not go away again. He thought to himself, How strange. But it was a divine voice preparing him for another tragedy. His wife would die from leukaemia. He needed to be closer to home, and be available for her needs.
I believe this is a wonderful story of how God uses all circumstances to get our attention and reveal more of himself to us. It hasn’t been easy for my friend to accept some parts of what life has dished up to him. But at his stage of life now, as a committed Christian who regularly attends church, he thanks God for leading him every day.
Everything that has happened to you has happened for a purpose and God desires to use your past to help shape your future. Have you ever wondered how God uses circumstances to help you grow in your soul?
Have you ever wondered, Why am I going through this?
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I think it’s a fairly common question asked each day. And what about the circumstances of life? There are three ways you can deal with circumstances:
- You can remove the circumstances.
- You can remove yourself from the circumstances.
- You can allow God to work out the circumstances.
It took my friend 73 years to come to this last one—to trust God with his circumstances.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Learn from Your Circumstances
Rick Warren has sold millions of books telling us that we should live our life with a purpose. God’s purpose. It’s a rock solid way to live, rather than allowing circumstances to push us one way or another. There is always a lesson to be learned when we are going through situations in our life. The good, the bad, and the ugly—all have a lesson we can learn from. Going through certain circumstances in our life doesn’t always mean God caused them, but it does mean he can speak to us through them. I hope you believe that.
God has a way of working things out for his glory. Even when things are not going as planned in life and all seems to be going wrong, we can trust that God will use those circumstances to make us better. When life deals us circumstances that we don’t understand we can choose to become better or bitter. If we allow God to speak to us through our circumstances we can become better. If we focus on the trials we can become bitter and twisted. I know people like that. They’re not happy at all. How unfortunate!
There are times when God will cause certain circumstances to take place in our life so that he can get a message to us. We have to approach our circumstances with the right attitude. We can’t choose what happens to us but we can choose what happens in us.
When we take the time to pray over our circumstances God will begin to lead us to the right perspective. Always ask yourself, and more importantly God, what lesson he is teaching you. Understand that experience is not the best teacher. Just because you go through something doesn’t mean you learned something from it. There are many people who go through circumstances just to repeat them over and over, never learning anything from it.
John C. Maxwell wrote in his book, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn:
Always be learning from your circumstances as God speaks to you. Life is a classroom and our experiences can become our education if we approach it the right way.
What are you going through right now that you can learn from? What lessons do you need to embrace in order to become better?
Here is a seven-step process to go through when situations come at us:
- Review the situation.
- Reflect on your experiences.
- Realise your lessons.
- Remove fear, pride, or regret.
- Refresh your spirit.
- Resolve to move forward.
- Rejoice in victory.