It happens every time something horrible happens. Which means it happens a great deal. As people struggle to make sense of all the terrible things that happen in life, they somehow reach the conclusion that God is responsible and, therefore, that the terrible thing that has happened has to be good. It’s understandable why people end up at this place. But it’s still wrong. Because while God is mysterious and acts in ways beyond our understanding, God does not inflict pain, injustice or tragedy. Pain is pain, injustice is injustice and tragedy is tragedy – and not the work of God. Thankfully, however, God is always present in the muck and mess of life bringing transformation, new birth, reconciliation, abundant joy and hope in all the ways that matter most. So look for God in the muck and the mess. You’ll be amazed by what you see.
Sometimes you probably feel like your faith should guarantee that you are exempt from tragedies, struggles and pain. Or, at least, that you should have it a whole lot easier than you do! But life’s not like that. And neither is faith. There will be days – even entire seasons – when your life will be difficult, painful, exhausting, tragic and inexplicable. You will turn to God and pour out your heart, but you don’t get what you want. That’s when you need to re-focus on God. Re-focus by believing God is at work even when you don’t see any signs of it. Re-focus by placing your ultimate hope in God. And re-focus by trusting that nothing in life or in death ever can separate you from God’s love. So when things get tough today – and they will – re-focus from outcome to God. God. Then at just the right time in just the right way, you will experience God’s grace in just the way God knows you need it.
You’ve already experienced them in the past. You’re certainly going to experience them again in the future. But, most importantly, you’ll experience them sometime today. They are the moments when God embraces you in grace. These moments may be obvious – or disguised. Significant right away – or understood only after the fact. Powerful in shaping your life – or simply a gentle reminder of God’s ever-unfolding love. While it may surprise you when God acts in this way, it shouldn’t. After all, what else would you expect from a God who always reaches out in exactly the way you most need in order to help you become the one-of-a-kind person God has created you to be? So look for all the moments today when you’ll be embraced in grace. Get ready for them. Anticipate them. Then, when they happen, build your life on them.
What kind of God do you look for when your world suddenly gets turned upside down? Probably a God who will give you a miracle, a reprieve or at least an explanation that gives some kind of meaning to what you’re going through. What kind of God do you look for when you struggle to keep your head above water while others seem to get all the breaks? Likely a God who will fix things so your life works. What kind of God do you look for in the face of all the evil and suffering in the world? Often a God who makes wonderful promises about the ‘sweet by and by when you die’. Maybe that’s why it’s time to ask a new question, “What kind of God is looking for you?” The answer to that is easy. God is a God who so cherishes you this God will do whatever it takes to embrace you in love.
Today is a great day to come to grips with the fact that you’re afraid of something. In fact, you probably have a whole list of things that strike fear in your heart. They may be legitimate, or not. Based on experience, or not. Likely to happen, or not. But the result’s the same. They cause you to feel so weak, vulnerable and incompetent you’ll do almost anything to avoid dealing with them. That’s why God wants you to experience what God can do with your fears – give you courage to overcome them, turn them into strengths, use them to help you learn more about God, yourself and others, and help you embrace them as a way to reach out to others it would be nearly impossible to reach if you were only leading with your strengths. So grab your fears and give them to God. You’ll be amazed what God can do with them.