I took my first plane ride when I was 12. The whole event lasted about 35 minutes. But do you know the thing I liked about it the most? I liked looking at the tops of the clouds. There was just something about the stark white balls of fluffs against the rich blue sky that made me want to jump out of the plane and dance on them. Funny, I had spent 12 long years looking up at the clouds but I never thought about cloud looking different from the top. I guess a new perspective can change the way you think about things.
You know, God knew what the tops of clouds look liked long before I did. Actually He knew before anyone did. God does not see our world the way we see the world and yet, as humans, we hunger to make sense of it all. Take suffering. It’s common for Christians to look at the suffering in our lives and believe that God is using a struggle to strengthen our faith. And when you look at scriptures, you know this is true. James 1:2-3 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. ” Hardship does strengthen your faith. But that doesn’t mean that the area of your faith that will be strengthened was the reason for your struggle.
God does NOT look at you and think “You need to appreciate your blessings more, so I am going to make you sick or take your job away.” God does not cause you suffering to teach you a lesson. You may learn a lesson from God like appreciation or humility through your struggles but the imperfections in the world come from sin not God. These imperfections may be anything from a tornado to a cancerous tumor to a company downsizing. God will use your struggles to teach you lessons but God is not giving you struggles JUST to teach you a lesson. God’s got things going on around you and your suffering that would blow your mind. Let’s look at God’s view of your struggles:
John 9:3 tells us that God is using your struggle so “that the work of God might be displayed” in your life. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God is using your struggle so people can see His power in your weakness. Romans 5:1-5 tell us that God is using your suffering to build patience, character, and hope. And 1 Peter 1:6-7 says God is using your suffering to bring praise, honor and glory to Christ. And that’s just the beginning. Can you begin to get just a glimpse of how big God’s view is of your life?
Can you see it? God’s work, God’s glory, God’s glory all around the hardships in your life. Take a glimpse of your hardships from on high like looking at the tops of clouds. Imagine a woman in chemo with nothing on her smooth head but a bandana going to the grocery store to buy bananas and go home. How many lives could God touch with this single act? Trust God in his omnipotence to know all the ways to use your life for His glorious will. AMEN