That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Losing Something Good to Get Something Better

I was talking to someone the other day about how sometimes God takes things away from us.  Many times God will take things away from us to get our attention.  Perhaps we've been living in our own will instead of God's will. Perhaps we are focused on worldly, material things, or we've got some idols that are taking our time, talents, and resources away from our Saviour.  If we're Christians, God wants us to be living for Him, and if there's something in our lives keeping us from living for Him, He just might take it away.

But, what about when God takes away good things?  What about when He takes away something that wasn't an idol?  What about when He takes away the very thing that we have been doing for Him?  A  classic example of this is Job.  Job's possessions weren't keeping him from serving God.  His money wasn't an idol.  His family wasn't hindering his spiritual life.  The Bible describes him as a perfect and upright man who feared God and eschewed evil (Job 1:1), but God took everything away from him.  Why?  Because, God was glorified MORE by taking these things away from Job than He would have been if Job had kept them.

I'm not sure which scenario of God taking stuff away is easier to handle.  God taking bad things out of our lives to correct us kind of makes sense.  God taking good things out of our lives can cause us to question.  Why would He take it away if it was good?  It's the same reason He allowed Job to go through such heartache.  To bring glory to Himself.  The difference with Job is that we know the end of the story.  When it comes to ourselves, we have no way of knowing how things will turn out.  Maybe we'll end up like Job with twice as much, but God doesn't necessarily have to do that.  He can take many good things out of our lives and never replace them.  God is God, and so often our human finite minds just cannot comprehend what His purpose is.  But that doesn't change the fact that our job is to simply give Him glory, trust Him fully, and be the best testimony we can be to others.

I've lost some good things in the past.  It wasn't anything nearly as tragic as what Job went through, but I still wondered why?  I didn't question God in an angry "Why are you doing this to me, this is so unfair" way.  It was more like a confused, but anticipating what will come next way.  When I graduated from Bible College, God allowed me to be offered a position working in a church.  That was like a dream come true; to be working in full-time Christian ministry!  It's what I always wanted to do.  What better way to serve the Lord than to work full-time in a church, Bible college, and Christian school.  I'd be 24/7 working for God.  I said I'd pray about it, but I already knew I was going to accept the job.

Three years later God took that job away.  Just like that.  Gone.  Poof.  Initially I was devastated.  I had poured my heart and soul into that ministry.  I had given everything I had to work for the Lord, and He took it away.  Why would He do that?  I wasn't angry.  Like I said before, I was confused, but I figured the Lord must have something else He wanted me to do.  It turns out that He did, and it was the most unlikely thing I could have ever thought of. I ended up back in my home church, which wasn't really my home church.  My parents had changed churches while I was in Bible College.  The most time I had ever spent at this church was one summer and Christmas holidays, but it felt like home right away.  God gave me so much when I moved back home.  He gave me a job, a house, a car, and now my own business.  Not to mention, many opportunities to witness to people that I never would have had if I had stayed at my amazing full-time church ministry job.  He's helped me to grow spiritually, He's allowed some trials to strengthen my faith, and He's taught me many valuable life lessons.

Most of all He's given me peace.  I had peace in my church ministry job too, when I first started it, but eventually that peace wore off.  I didn't realize it right away, but when God took that ministry away from me, I noticed how much I didn't have peace about being there.  God might take me away from where I am now too.  I don't know???  He might leave me here for the rest of my life, or He might take all these good things away and send me somewhere else.  He might take all these good things away and just leave me here without them.  I have no idea what God is going to do in the future, but that's okay.  Whatever it is, I know it will be what's best.

If you have lost something good, don't worry.  Give God glory, and know that He has something better for you.  You may not realize it right away, but trust Him.  You may not even get to see what that better thing is until someday when we're in heaven, but trust Him.  He ALWAYS knows what's best!

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliver; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Psalm 18:2

1 comment:

  1. I can't say I was rich like Job nor can I say that went to Bible college but this reminds of when I was doing a work practicum for my Programmer/Analyst diploma. This company had offered me not only a full-time job but my own office - it was also some cutting edge (at the time) information technology stuff I would have been working on but they had legal bills to pay because of some past employee who ripped off some clients so they couldn't hire me for it. At first I just blamed it on that guy but then I realized that this was God's will.