I’m sitting on our side deck praying and spending some time with God and there are a few things that are trying to steal my joy. I was debating topics for future firelight, faith, and friends videos. And something that is coming up due to circumstances in life has to do with trusting God when you don’t understand. Part of my study led me to Psalm 119:71 which says “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (ESV). That verse hit me like a ton of bricks. God is with me in this place.  I truly believe that He is not surprised by our circumstances or things that happen to us either by our own poor choices or the brokenness of life and others. And while He knows our right to choose will lead to heartache and sadness, He promises to use all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). That part I’ve heard before and I get it. I’ve seen it at work….. What hit me about this verse today is that this affliction spoken of by the Psalmist was called good and the purpose was for hIm to learn God’s statutes.

A lot of Psalm 119 talks about the Word of God and his statutes or laws and how they are good for us and bring life. So much so that God would use affliction to help us realize that. I know it is no fun to go through tough times. I don’t necessarily wish for them and I believe the Bible teaches that God is not the author of them, but there are so many verses that talk about how we learn so much through our trials and afflictions. We learn how to cry out to God. We learn how to trust God. We learn compassion and perseverance.  We learn that He alone has everything we need and that He is all-knowing and all-powerful. We also learn that He is a God of miracles and the impossible.              (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Psalm 34:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:4-6, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Hebrews 12:10-11,         Luke 1:37)

I’m a science teacher and there is a fun concept we would talk about with plants that has to do with seed dispersal. Plants create seeds that need to be released in order to grow new plants. But you don’t want the seeds falling near the parent plant because that would create too much competition. You want those seeds to be able to find a new spot to land and grow. There are a variety of ways that seeds can be dispersed- water, wind, (we all love blowing those seeds of of dandelions and making our wishes), bursting out of a pod, but one type of dispersal that relates here has to do with the ones that have to go through the harsh environment of an animal’s digestive system in order to be ready to grow. They get pooped out right along with their own fertilizer and structurally ready to start their new life. Tropical figs, the red bud and some berries are just a few examples. Why am I talking biology to you? Because some of us are a seeds that, for whatever reason, need to go through a tough time so that we can be better prepared to grow where God is about to plant us. Don’t worry… you are not the only one. Read about Jonah and how he literally was inside the belly of a large fish before he was ready to share God’s love with the people of Ninevah. It’s not always pretty, but sometimes it is necessary.

You may not like your current circumstances; they might be horrific, unfair, emotionally tragic, but take time to ask God what you need to learn, what is he working on in you, how is He preparing you for the next stage of growth. If you give Him a chance, you will find that He already knows what is happening and how He is going to use it for His glory and your good. Work on trusting Him…. especially when you don’t understand.

For more encouragement in this area, make sure to check out a devotional video here

If you need some encouragement through music, Waymaker is a great one for reminding us that God DOES make a way.  Listen here

Learn how Katherine and Jay Wolf allowed God to show them a different perspective on affliction and pain.  Hope Heals and Suffer Strong

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