On October 19, 2014, my life changed.
I was in acute renal failure and didn't know it. If I had waited another week to see a doctor, I would have been dead.
During my ten-day hospital stay, I experienced the most horrible pain I had ever experienced. This was followed by six surgeries in two years, rendering me physically weaker than I had ever been in my life.
If my physical suffering wasn't enough, I was equally as discouraged emotionally and spiritually. These two years of physical limitation coincided with the most ministry opportunity I had ever been given.
I kept asking the Lord, "Why would you give me a platform then leave me unable to use it? Why?"
Life made no sense at all. Have you ever been there?
Abraham has. He staked his entire existence on the promise that a son would come, but then in an unthinkable moment, God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.
What in the world was God doing? And how was Abraham able to respond in obedience?
There are three principles that guide us how to live by faith when life makes no sense at all.
1. We Are Being Strengthened
The author of Hebrews 11 says that Abraham was being tested, which is a word picture for metal being purified. God will send difficult, unexpected and unwanted trials into our lives to produce in us what could have never been produced otherwise. I refer to that as the theology of uncomfortable grace, and we need to preach it to ourselves and to others.
2. We Aren't Supposed To Figure Life Out
Hebrews 11 also indicates that Abraham didn't know that God would provide an animal for sacrifice. In other words, he didn't obey because he knew the future. When God sends confusing trials into our lives or asks us to obey mystifying commands, he won't always tell us why. I have counseled many Christians who complicate their suffering by trying to interpret what God has intentionally kept a divine secret.
3. We Need To Rely On Promises And Commands
Abraham was able to obey in faith because he rested in the promises of God and followed the clear commands. He knew that the Lord does not lie and that we can trust everything he does. When life doesn't make any sense at all, these two things are enough for us to live by faith.
I want to go back to my story. Contrary to what I thought, these past few years have been without a doubt the most productive ministry years of my life. Through suffering, God reminded me that he doesn't need me to be healthy to use me.
It may take many years for you to see the result of what God is doing when life makes no sense at all. Or he may never reveal the reasons why.
But no matter what you're experiencing, God's promises and commands are enough.
His grace is sufficient for you, and his power is made perfect in confusion and weakness.
- What uncomfortable things are you experiencing in your life right now?
- Are there ways in which you are trying to interpret the secret will of God, when you should rest in not knowing?
- What are the clear commands of Scripture that you know you need to follow today, even though you may struggle to do so?
- How can you encourage others who are struggling with these three principles?