Have you ever wondered WHY things happen the way they do? Miracles, premature death, “coincidence,” suffering: His GLORY!
11 Death and Destruction [Abaddon, hell] lie open before the LORD–how much more do human hearts!
God sees things from an eternal perspective, even all of eternity (get your arms around that thought!). He uses our time on earth to “prove” us.
Prove- to subject to a test [in order to show], experiment, comparison, analysis, or the like, to determine [in order to reveal] quality, amount, acceptability, characteristics, etc.–things God already knows, but wants to REVEAL FOR OUR GOOD. Lest you think that God is all about judgment, His judgment is reserved for those who refuse His kind offer of salvation. It is His desire that ALL come to Him for cleansing and healing and a relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9).
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” Luke 8:17. God wants everyone to know what He knows is inside of each of us, and He knows just what to use to expose what is there. Some people He proves with power, many more with oppression; some He proves with riches, many more with poverty; some He proves with health, many more with myriad ailments; some He gives long life, many more He calls (what we would consider) prematurely. How does He decide? For that answer, we go to Proverbs 20:27,
27 The spirit [breath] of man is the lamp of the Lord,
searching all his innermost parts. ESV
27 The Lord looks deep inside people
and searches through their thoughts. NCV
God is looking for those who are faithful to Him in heart–even in our failures and sinful thoughts and actions, those who are faithful turn to Him for help, for solace, for strength, and for sustenance. They find in the midst of their struggle that they are not strong enough, not good enough, not brave enough on their own; they need a Savior, so they turn to Him. How can God receive such vile creatures who even kill Christians while they think that they are doing God a favor? Yet, He does! Don’t believe me? Let me show you some passages that will change your mind:
20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20
2 “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” John 16:2
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.” Acts 22:3-5
Of course, we are talking about Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus. It was on his way to Damascus that the Lord Jesus appeared to him and called him into His service (Acts 22:6-16).
As I said, God looks on the heart. We know this truth from the Lord Himself when Samuel was trying to identify the new king of Israel, which was David, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his [Eliab’s] appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7.
So, whatever we go through, whatever we endure, it is God showing us what is in our hearts; it is Him revealing to us what we set in our lives as idols, but also our dire need of Him and His Spirit. This life is an obstacle course–who wants to remain on an obstacle course?! Let’s trust Him to get us through it and onto the rest of eternity, shall we?
Tomorrow: How the LORD helps us on this obstacle course.
Abba, thank You that because of the blood of Jesus You do not see my shortcomings and failures; instead, you see that which drives me to You. May I come to You and receive all the mercy and grace that is needed in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16), which happens to be ALL THE TIME. Through Jesus, You have shown Yourself to be kind and compassionate, long-suffering and gentle with all who come to You in faith. Thank You for proving my faith; when all the dross is gone, I will shine brilliantly for You, Abba! Amen.