"When it feels like everything is going wrong you are in the middle of a Kingdom story."
-Paul Miller, A Praying Life
We always hate it when someone says something like the quote above. In fact, I posted this quote yesterday on Facebook and the comments were of frustrated responses to these words. I understand that.
We ask, "well, I wish I knew what he was doing," and "when will this be over?" and finally, from my friend Stephanie, "I sure would like to know how that story goes because right now, it is very not right."
I get that! In the 'going wrong' parts of our lives we are completely focused on what is going wrong and not on God! We live in the midst of the problem, the trial, the temptation and can't see anything or anyone else. And when our eyes are only focused on us and our problems anger and bitterness set in. We feel trapped, we get mad!
Like a boxer stuck in the corner of the ring we want to fight our way out of the pain, get away from the beating and just get out!
But, in the times when 'everything goes wrong' would you stop for a moment and simply look up? Could you surrender your heart to the God who loves you with this simple prayer, "Lord, even in the midst of everything going wrong I will trust you."
James described it this way,
"When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
and Paul wrote,
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
In the middle of this passage from Romans 5 I am captivated by these words, 'For we know how dearly God loves us.'
And yet he allows days when everything goes wrong and he does it BECAUSE he loves us!
How does that work?
My problem, honestly, and your problem as well is that we live in time, in pain, in the moments when everything goes wrong and we want it to stop right now!
But what we can’t see is what God is doing, what he’s working on, what he is trying to accomplish.
What he's trying to accomplish is not about me having an easy pain free life! It’s about a Kingdom story where the bride is being prepared to meet the groom. It’s about the bride being used by God to draw others to the great wedding feast.
It’s about Jesus and the Kingdom he is creating even now.
It’s about a Kingdom we are part of…..but like that chubby bride who works like crazy to get into the dress for the wedding God is working to get us ready for his coming, to mold us into the image of Christ so that others ask, “Can I come to the wedding too?”
It’s a Kingdom story and it’s not about me and it’s not about you.
It’s about Christ.
Your part in it is to consider it joy that in those days when everything is going wrong God is working out an amazing story for his glory in your everything going wrong days!
Just ask those around you who have suffered greatly for their faith. They will smile and tell you, ‘oh, it is worth it all!’ Or take a moment and read Hebrews 11. In the later verses of that chapter are the stories of ‘and others….’ When we see their perspective, a focus on the King and the Kingdom and not on their comfort, we can rest in the arms of a Father who loves us.
Consider it all joy my brothers and sisters when you come to an ‘everything is going wrong day’ because you are part of a Kingdom story.