A few years ago, I was in a very serious boating accident. It’s actually a miracle that I’m still alive. My throat was crushed, so my voice was severely impaired. Even now, it still has a slightly different quality than before; but thank God it has gotten progressively stronger, bit by bit.
So I was out of commission for six months.
It would be easy for me to blame God for the accident. But Scripture teaches us in Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
God did not plan or cause the accident to happen, but He certainly used it because nothing takes Him by surprise. In fact, when I came back, I found the church had grown both in numbers and influence, as well as in unity.
What happened was a whole lot of people, because they had to, stepped up to the plate and took on greater roles of responsibility.
God used the accident to help propel the church forward in unprecedented ways.
Friend, God knows the end from the beginning in your situation as well. He can turn around anything you go through to somehow bring good from it.
Let’s consider two important examples in Scripture.
In one day, Job lost his wealth, his home, his position in the community, and all of his children. The next day, he lost his health. We next find Job sitting on a garbage heap, his life in ruins, scraping boils from his skin with a shard of broken pottery.
Of course Job had no idea Satan was really the one behind it all, even as Job 2:7 says, “Satan… struck Job.”
Job began to get somewhat bitter, even accusing God of being unjust and unfair.
But God eventually came on the scene and straightened Job out, showing Job why he had been wrong to blame God. Then God completely turned things around, giving Job twice as much as he had lost.
Satan had no idea when he attacked Job that God would bless Job even more abundantly than before. He also had no idea that a book would later be written about it, exposing Satan and his tactics for every generation to see.
Our second example is the apostle Paul. Paul was falsely accused, thrown in prison, and taken to Rome in chains. It would seem his ministry had been hamstrung and his influence curtailed; but God knew better.
At the end of the book of Acts, we read, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31).
Paul’s ministry in Rome ended up being fruitful and unhindered.
While in custody there, Paul wrote several letters, including what we now refer to as the book of Philippians. Philippians 1:12-14 says,
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (emphasis mine)
Paul wrote that the whole palace guard—the most elite troops in all of Rome, and the emperor’s personal bodyguards—had been evangelized. Philippians 4:22 goes on to say, “All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.”
Paul ended his letter to the Philippians by saying, “All the believers in Caesar’s household especially want to say hi to you guys.” In other words, Paul was able to reach the most influential family on planet Earth!
None of the hardships Paul faced took God by surprise. God was able to turn it all around for good.
So as you look to God in the midst of your troubles, friend, know that He can somehow weave everything you face into His great unfolding plan.
You can learn more about responding to setbacks the right way in my message, “Nothing Takes God by Surprise.”
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