What do you do when the roof falls in? Why does God allow failure and disappointments to happen if he's really in control?
God often allows failure to point us to one critical truth: we can't live the Christian life on our own. There will be times when God places us in situations that cause us to realize our insufficiency and depend more on him. Only Jesus lived the Christian life perfectly, so if anything of eternal value is going to be accomplished through us, he is going to have to do it!
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Earlier in this book (1:8) Paul says, "we were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life." When Paul speaks of "light and momentary troubles," we know that his trouble was actually severe, but in comparison to what was being gained and accomplished in his life and ministry – it was insignificant. In fact, he says, it "far outweighs them all." Paul knew that his trouble would make his ministry much more powerful. What a perspective! How do we get it?
The first step to dealing positively with failure or disappointment is recognizing that God has allowed or placed us in these situations to add eternal value to our character – that he is accomplishing a good work in us that will far outlast the present disheartening situation. He uses difficulties to teach us to walk by faith and to equip us to make eternal investments in the lives of others. Every situation can have the effect of molding us into Christ's image:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Circumstances are not truly out of control; they are used for our good in the hands of a loving God!
We become bitter to the degree we don't give thanks to God. Let's resolve to focus on what he has given rather than on what is gone. We need to choose with our will, not our feelings, to form a habit of giving thanks in the middle of suffering. Expressing gratitude regularily will reminds us that he is in control and working to produce and refine treasures in us that will not fade away, but last for eternity.
What are some other reasons God allows suffering? Read Making Sense of Suffering.
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