“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46 [NASB]
This cry by Jesus on the cross moments before He died is a cry many people express when they face very difficult times. We’ve each known, heard about, or experienced these hard times. Times when an infant dies. Times when a car crashes leaving the people inside paralyzed or in a coma for life. Times when a medical test comes back positive for cancer or some feared disease. Times when an employer closes the business and you and your family are left without an income. Times when you lose your home and don’t know where you will live or sleep. Times when you have failed all your tests and cannot get into university and do not know what you will do with your life. Times when you realize you have arrived at the end of your rope and just can’t hold on any longer. These times are times you might have cried out, “My God, why have You forsaken me?!”
Now remember the times after those very hard and heartbreaking periods in your life. Remember your relief when the tests said you didn’t have cancer, your loved one in a coma awakened, when you found employment, when your school grades came back higher than you expected so you could go to university, times when a new home was provided. In each of these times, you really cannot say you caused them to turn around. God is the One who was faithful to you and provided what you needed at the right moment. He is the One who loved you throughout the ordeal. God saw you at your need and that need included growth in your faith.
Understand this, trials of faith that arise as trials in your life are there to grow you. It’s not that God ever leaves you. Rather, those times grow you to realize the situation does not contradict who God is. Circumstances do not define God. God defines circumstances; He limits them and provides a way for you to get through them with Him and grow because of them. Trials of life are trials of faith.
Did God cause you to go through that trial? It is possible. What is more important is not how and who started the difficult period of time, but by Whom and how you got through it. Did you hold on to God for strength as you walked through the trial with Him? If you did, your faith relied upon God and grew because of that difficulty. Would we rather have not gone through the trial? You bet! But, if we never go through trials, we don’t grow as Christians. Our faith in God does not grow and we remain little children forever, rather than true disciples who are in the image of Christ.
Here’s the point: Let trials grow you so you recognize they don’t contradict God and redefine who He is in your mind. Instead, look to God and let Him remind you of His might, love, and mercy, and let Him define the situation for you.
GOD defines the situation. The situation never defines who God is.
Lord, it is so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget to meet with you in prayer and study of Your Word. When we do this, we lose sight of Who You really are. We allow our circumstances to define You in our minds. Doing this caused us to forget the magnitude of Who You really are. You are the one God, God almighty, ever-present, all-knowing, Savior, Creator, Redeemer, Provider, Protector, Guide, and Friend. Lord, You love me more than I love myself and always have my best interests at heart. Help me to trust fully in and lean on You for each of my days and all that I experience. Help me look to and for You and to join You in what You are doing. Thank you for being my Savior. I trust solely in You. Amen.