“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:28-29 (NRS)
In our culture, it is not unusual for people to greet one another with the inquiry, “How are you?” In response, a multitude of replies are available but my favorite is, “I doing fairly well under the circumstances.” This is my opportunity to respond, “Why are you under your circumstances and what are you doing to get back on top?” Circumstances are conditions or facts that affect a situation. These can be either positive or negative. They define a state in which an individual, group, or even a nation may find itself. This week we will explore how God speaks to us through circumstances.
There are many biblical examples that illustrate how God used circumstances to speak to His people. Circumstances dictated that Moses would be set adrift in the Nile. It was there that he would be found by the king’s daughter and adopted into the royal household by the ruling Pharaoh (Ex. 2:1-10). God later spoke to Moses after his 40-year circumstance and re-directed him to deliver Israel from bondage. In the book of Acts, we find God speaking to the early church by using the political and social circumstances around them. Jesus had clearly articulated the scope of the church’s ministry: “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). While it was within their “comfort zone” to stay in Jerusalem, God spoke through the circumstance of persecution to move the gospel to a larger audience. Throughout the Bible we find God speaking to people through special favor, through personal loss, or through miraculous deliverance. God spoke to them through their circumstances.
God still speaks today through circumstances. He will use conditions and situations from our everyday life to place us in a position to hear His voice. Does God create circumstances to make us do His will? No, God has created us as freewill agents and desires that we choose to live within His divine plan. But God will allow circumstances to flow into our life to accomplish His glory and our good (Rom. 8:24). In addition, to conform us to the image of Christ, God will permit circumstances in our lives that will mature us and grow our faith (1 Pet. 1:5-7). What may appear at first to be a “stumbling block” may, in actuality, turn out to be a “stepping stone”. God speaks through closed doors as well as opened doors; through delayed prayers as well as answered ones.
As believers proceed in this Christian walk, we must remember that the intent of our life is to glorify God and to accomplish His purpose on earth (2 Cor. 5:15). That’s why it is important to be intentional in prayer and reading God’s Word especially during difficult and challenging times, regardless of the circumstance (Phil. 4:6-13).
Also read: Divine Inquiry
As we develop our personal relationship with God, we will understand that He loves us and can be trusted with every aspect of our life. Then circumstances will not overcome us nor will we live “under them” (1 John 4:4).
SELAH: Think about a time when you were “under your circumstances”. What was God saying to you?