Thursday, March 27, 2008
“God has a plan.” How often have you heard these words, or even spoken them yourself, when you have had to confront tough issues? Maybe it’s a serious illness, or a business deal falls through. Perhaps a neighbor’s child has a substance abuse problem, or a relative unexpectedly loses her job. When we don’t understand why good people suffer, or when the mystery of living in a fallen world just doesn’t make sense, we fall back on the truth that God is in control. But sometimes even this truth can ring hollow. We may find some help by looking at Peter’s sermon in today’s first reading. Peter didn’t gloss over the deep pain and disappointment the disciples felt at Jesus’ unjust death. But he did point out that even though members of his own people handed Jesus over, God used Jesus’ pain—and the injustice of his situation—to bring about a far greater good. Peter said that this was how God “brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand”—the healing, restoration, and refreshment of his people. In the midst of such suffering, it was next to impossible to believe that a greater blessing could come; but come it did!
Sometimes, we just need to keep walking through the events or circumstances that cause us pain. The truth that God has a plan can offer little comfort at the time, but faith can supply what experience lacks. Sometimes we simply have to wait patiently to see how that plan will unfold, knowing that somehow God will win and we will be comforted. By making the small, daily choices to stay close to God in prayer, our perspective will begin to change. So instead of just asking “why?” ask, “What do you have in store?” Then see what happens.
Maybe that afflicted neighbor needs a friend to walk beside him through his trial. Maybe the jobless relative would benefit from a note of encouragement and assurance of your prayers. Who knows? Maybe you will be lifted up as you take time with the Scriptures to see how God has walked with his people and brought them through their suffering to blessings and peace!
“Lord, you are Almighty God. I know I can trust you, wherever life takes me. Help me to stay close to you and receive assurances from the Holy Spirit that you are indeed in control!”
Psalm 8:2,5-9; Luke 24:35-48