On Circumstances and the Favour of God

When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:3-6 ESV)

Circumstance is no way to judge the favour of God on a man's life. Good people are not immune to the evil in this world. Christians are not put out of reach of the serpent's attacks. Too many believers think like the Maltese in Acts 28, and whenever something bad happens, they assume that God has it in for them. Utter nonsense. God proved the extent of his love for us on Calvary, and even if he were never to show us another act of love, it would be enough for all eternity. How dare we question the love and favour of God in the light of Christ's sacrifice?

But it is not whether a man goes into trial that shows whether God is with him (for Jesus said we would all face trials), but it is how he comes out of them! The promise of God is not that no weapon forged against us will ever touch us, but that they shall never prosper - they may hurt us for a moment, but they can never do us any long-term harm if God is working all things for our good. We will come out stronger, and the enemy will face another defeat.

God delights to turn the attacks of the enemy on his own head. Paul was bitten by the serpent, but it was the snake that died, Paul was unharmed. David fought the Philistines with Goliath's sword. Haman was hung on his own gallows. Benaiah killed the giant Egyptian with his own spear. And Jesus transformed the cross - the worst form of execution devised by the evil of man, into the greatest source of life and the blessing of God.

How do we know the favour of God? It is the cross, not our circumstances that tells us how much he loves us. It is his promise not our prosperity that assures us that he is with us for our good. It is our victory over trials, not our delivery from them that shows the power of God at work in our lives.

We are shielded by the power of God, not to escape every bad circumstance, but to overcome them.

[We] through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1Pe 1:5-6 NIV)


Ian said...

Great post Chris. I was thinking along exactly the same lines this morning when reading the story of Joseph, particularly when he says “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Gen 41:52b ESV.

Akinola Akinyede said...

Challenging circumstance and trials are the reality of life. They are no exception, but a part of life. But the Gospel (Good News) is- in all these trials we shall overcome, emerge victorious and conquerors in it.

Silverback said...

Hello. You don't know me, but I stumbled across your blog about six months ago and I've sort of been lurking ever since. Generaly speaking, I just like your writing style and the topics which is why I keep peeking back in from time to time to se wat you've been writing.
But tonight, I'm up late with a sick 6-month old son and this post really spoke to me.
My son was born without any connection between his mouth and his stomach, a condition called esophogeal atrasia. That condition was able to be repaired through surgery, and the truth is, you would ever know that he had suffered through such an ordeal.
But my wife and I have found these six months (there are continuing trips to the hospital related to this first thing) incredibly taxing, and I must confess it strains our faith at times. In my better moments I can keep steady on exactly the kind of thing you speak on here - my son is a blessing regardless. It's inappropriate to question God's motives, or his heart, just because my son is sick...and yet, I'm not always in a good moment.
Nights like tonight, where I'm fretting over whether or not he's breathing enough, the Devil's whispers become more convincing. Anyway, as yet another evidence of God's kindness, He drew me to this post at a moment I needed it.
Thansk for being there and fighting the good fight.
Grace and Peace, Chris Skaggs

Chris HH said...

Thank you so much for your comments. It's testimonies like that, that make blogging worthwhile. We all have moments of weakness, which is why God has arranged us all in his body, so that each member can minister to one another.

I'm praying for you and your son, that God will bring you through this time of testing into a spacious place. And I know that however much this earthy father was moved by a little glimpse, our heavenly Father, who sees all, is moved much more on your behalf.

Every blessing to you and your household,

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were just talking about this concerning some recent situations that have effected our extended family. Great post

Marcos said...

My wife and I were just talking about this concerning some recent situations that have effected our extended family. Great post