God isn’t surprised…and you shouldn’t be, either
We live in a world that is fraught with conflict and mean-spiritedness. A friend shared a situation she encountered: A lady she did not know wanted to teach her a lesson about parking badly. Long story short, she yelled out to the lady to give her grace. The lady made up her mind that she had the right to confront her without even taking the time to understand, listen and offer compassion. We are witnessing right before our eyes the bombing of the Ukraine and while trying to escape, African students are being discriminated against by not being permitted to ride trains. While in the bank to retrieve his money, famed producer, Ryan Coogler, was handcuffed due to a lack of due diligence of a teller and her supervisor. It is easy to become disillusioned especially after two years of the uncertainty of COVID. We are tired, worn out and with the onslaught of the shocking news of current events, it is easy to believe that there is no good news.
The situations we are facing are not new to God. Instead of seeing this as a time of despair, it is an opportunity to love others well, do good, and choose to live in a way that brings honor to God and builds a legacy. We are reminded in Matthew 24:6-13 by Jesus that these occurrences will happen and increase, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
It can be painful to witness what we are seeing, and we cannot sedate ourselves into choosing to ignore reality or distract ourselves with unhealthy habits and useless activity. We must be aware of these issues and yet, still willing to do work that is impactful and life changing. We are called even amid what we see or hear to work. “So, let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all….” (Galatians 6:9-10 MSG) I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible when he prepared for the famine. He was aware that it was a reality and yet, he did his part in making sure that others did not suffer. (Genesis 41) Joseph knew the famine was going to happen because of his gift of interpreting dreams. He was able to warn the Pharaoh of the upcoming challenge and God used him to ultimately help others including his family. Recognize that what we face are the results of bad decisions of humans. It’s crazy to me how we blame God for what happens when we choose not to invite God in until something bad happens.
Have you uninvited God to be in your life until it is convenient? What gifts have you allowed to go dormant that you could be using to bless others and build God’s kingdom? Instead of becoming discouraged or focused on doing things that are short-term with no meaning, what are you doing with your life to make it better for others in spite of the issues now and to come? Your relationship with God is first and foremost. Joseph could not have interpreted the dream if he was not in relationship with God. Seek God for your purpose and the plan for your life. God’s plan always includes blessing others. If your focus is only about promoting and building you, you will continue to find yourself frustrated and flustered because you will only go so far. Allow God to use you to make a difference even as we see the increase of evil, meanness, and heartache. It does not mean that it is time for you to give up or give in. There is work to do. It is time to seek, sow, and serve.