Lately, I’ve found myself constantly praying for God to change my situations.
As if he doesn’t realize how messed up the world is. How broken we are. How chaotic 2020 has felt. I ask Him to change the circumstances surrounding me as if He’s just sitting up in heaven watching Netflix completely unaware of what’s happening in this world He created. As if He’s forgotten about us down here. But He hasn’t. He knows what’s happening. Nothing that happens in this world happens without his consent. He’s allowing it to continue to happen because He’s not done doing what He’s planning to do with it. Are you following?
Now let’s turn to the Old Testament superstar of struggle… Job. His story is unique in that we get a little glimpse at the dialogue between God and Satan. Satan and his angels come to God and get this… he had to ask God’s permission to mess with Job’s life. God literally gave His consent for the enemy to do whatever he wanted with everything Job had, but with an important condition: “…but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:12b)
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the story, Satan proceeded to take away everything Job had including all of his livestock and fields, his wife and children, and even his health. He left Job broke and alone, but through all of Job’s struggles and heartache, God was never worried because He still held Job’s life. God’s protection was on him the whole time.
So now that we’ve seen God’s side of it, let’s look at Job’s perspective. How did he respond? Well Satan’s plan here was to get Job to curse the name of God, but Job wouldn’t do it. Even after everything was taken from him and his three friends blamed him for his misfortune and gave him a bunch of bad advice, Job still praised God. His faith was not shaken. He prayed things like this:
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23:10
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:2
Even when he had nothing, Job still held on to the faith that God would use all of those awful circumstances to refine him like gold. He still acknowledged God’s power and honored Him. I want to pray like Job.
Instead of praying for God to change my circumstances, I want to pray that God will never stop using my circumstances to change me. I challenge you to do the same. Instead of praying for God to “fix” things so they can go back to our broken version of “normal,” let’s ask Him to keep shaking things up until they’re better, new, and more reflective of His kingdom.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven…'” – Matthew 6:9-10 (emphasis mine)
Let’s ask Him to change our hearts in the face of uncertainty rather than asking Him to make COVID-19 go away. Let’s ask Him to cover our family with peace in the face of loss rather than blaming him for taking our loved one away. Let’s ask Him to change the hearts of those corrupted by power and authority instead of acting in violence in response to offense. Let’s ask for the coming of His glorious kingdom rather than asking for a perfect life in our own little bubble.
Because here’s the thing: circumstances will always change and more often than not, they will be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and difficult. So let’s stop complaining and wishing for an easier life.
Sooner or later, you’ll have to respond, and it’s how we respond that matters. It’s how God is using it to make us look more like Him that matters. It’s how it fits in to the bigger picture of the redemption of God’s creation that matters.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – Thessalonians 5:16-18
So, let’s not get swept up in trying to pray away our problems. Let’s take up a different stance, and pray through them, because that allows God to change us, grow us, and mold us to better reflect His glory.
Remember, nothing in this world happens without God’s consent. Your bad day didn’t sneak past His radar while He was enjoying His morning coffee. He allows our circumstances to be difficult because He wants us to be a little uncomfortable, because that’s when we turn to Him and lean on Him so He can remind us of His power and glory. So let’s embrace whatever circumstance we find ourselves in and commit to seeking out the Lord and His goodness. Because no matter how broken we are, He is always good.