Our pastor has been preaching out of the book of Esther. We read through the entire book and then he pointed out that not once in the entire book is God mentioned. Not once in the entire book is there anyone calling on His name. And not once in the entire book of Esther is there a supernatural showing of God. He said all that to say this. Just because God is silent, doesn't mean God is absent. Hmmm. That's really appropriate for our situation right now.
Neither my husband or I are working right now. I am collecting less than $450 a month on unemployment. We are trying to get my husband on disability because of various health issues but have been unsuccessful. Our rent is about two months behind and we've gotten an eviction letter. Our light bill is nearly due and we have no idea how it will be paid. Our car was repossessed. I have been looking for work for the last six months. Things look pretty bleak but I know that just because things seem to be out of control doesn't mean that God has forgotten about us. He is at work. He is the solution to our problems. Another thing our pastor pointed out is that our lives are not about creating our story. In fact, we are co-stars in God's story. He is the focus. Thinking that God is using these things in our lives for our good because we are called by Him and loved by Him helps me not to be so frantic. See, according to what we've been learning from Esther, God is using these beyond hard times to write another chapter in His Story. God means to show others about Himself through us. We just have to be willing to be used.
In my studies this week, I came across a message by Will Pounds that further explains what our preacher has been teaching. It is titled The Lord God is My Strength. It is excerpted as follows.
"We see God in His activity. He has demonstrated His holiness, justice, and love at the cross. There is no reason why we should ever question His love because of the great manifestation of that love at Calvary. He sent His Son to die for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 8:32). God does not change His eternal attributes." When I think I have more to bear than what is possible, I am reminded of the burden Jesus bore for us at the cross of Calvary. Talk about having a bad day. But He had that bad day so that we might have freedom and a relationship with God. My problems seem small and insignificant when compared to the day that Jesus laid down His life for me to have life.
"We are tempted in an hour of extreme difficulty to judge God by what we are experiencing. In his dialogue with God, the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk asked hard questions that trouble the minds of men. Why do we have to witness the violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, poverty and perverted justice? The LORD God told Habakkuk, " I am doing something in your days - you would not believe it if you were told" (Habakkuk 1:5) God was using the circumstances to accomplish His eternal purposes." God is using my circumstances to accomplish His eternal purposes. God is using my difficult period in my life to write His story for others to see evidence of His Glory.
"When the Lord treads the winepress, He forces us to reveal what we are on the inside. He will not allow us to say we are one thing and be something else in life." If I say I am a Christian, then in hard times, I need to act like a Christian. I cannot say I love God and then blubber when my life gets hard. The two don't add up. Sometimes, I believe God allows trouble in our lives to test us on what we claim we believe and are. He does this as much for our benefit as for others, definitely not His. He knows how we will act. He wants us to see how we will act in trying times, but more importantly, He wants others to see how we react when life is not as sweet as we think it ought to be. Our reactions to troubles can either point someone toward our Holy Savior or turn someone from Him.
"Habakkuk learned from the terrible invasion of the Chaldeans to put his trust in the eternal God who sees the end from the beginning of all calamities. "Yet I will exalt in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:18) That is seeing God above the circumstances." We should all strive to see God above and through our circumstances.
"When we see the circumstances through God's eyes, we are transformed. The LORD God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hind's feet, and makes me walk on my high places" (Habakkuk 3:19) This has become my favorite verse. No matter what I face, God will make a way for me to climb my mountain. God will show me the path to take.
In cruel circumstances, we can look to God as the One in control of life. He is Sovereign. We can rest easy in Him, knowing He holds us in His hands. God doesn't let troubles come into our lives so we will get overwhelmed and give up. God lets troubles come into our lives so we will get overwhelmed and give it to Him to handle as He sees fit. I know our problems will work out the best way that will bring honor and glory to our awesome, sovereign God.