We live in a dangerous world. When we honestly look at what is going on around us, we see how dangerous it is. We are powerless to control our circumstances and protect ourselves economically, physically, and relationally. There are many different ways we are vulnerable in life. We do not have the ability to protect ourselves and we cannot keep ourselves safe.
But, we are not alone. Someone else is with us and is powerful.
Jesus. He is the Creator, and the Redeemer. Together with the Father and Spirit, He created the universe. He controls the universe. He accomplishes good, even in this fallen and dangerous world in which we live.
The big picture is good. God is at work to build His kingdom, and to care for His people. When we keep the big picture in focus, we live with hope. But we live in the smaller picture and we need to keep that in focus too. We need to see God at work in the details.
So, let me tell you a story.
Last year my wife was diagnosed with oral cancer.
In that moment our lives were thrown in to upheaval. We were new to Oregon and we had purchased private insurance because we did not have any way to buy group insurance. Private insurance has a lot of ways to limit what it covers. At the very same time we were trying to make decisions about what kind of treatment we were going to pursue, we were also trying to find out if insurance was going to cover it. We were vulnerable to circumstances and we felt exposed.
We prayed for God to provide healing. We prayed for God to provide the funding for treatment. We knew what we wanted, but we did not have the power to make it happen. We asked God to provide answers and direction so that we could make decisions and take action.
The doctors told us we needed to act quickly. Cancer was not going to allow us enough time to get everything lined up before we acted. If we waited, Ann could die.
God was at work. He was keeping us safe, even while we suffered. He has made clear in Scripture that life is precious. We knew that we were called to begin treatment for Ann’s cancer even if we did not know how the finances would work out. We knew that the right thing to do was to fight the cancer and do whatever we could to preserve Ann’s life. There was, however, a lot we did not know. Would Ann survive? What would her life be like after treatment? Would God use insurance to provide the financial resources to pay for the medical bills or would He provide in some other way?
God made clear only what the next steps would be. We did not know where He was taking us. We did not know where our path would lead us. We could follow His lead in the next steps, trusting Him for the results, or we could try to find our own path to accomplish our own goals. His path was scary. It felt at times like we were in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). In fact, we really were in that valley.
God took us into dangerous places. He also went with us. He protected us. Ann survived her cancer. She is surviving the effects of her treatment. We hope that He will restore her to strength and free her from pain. Insurance has covered what they should have covered. God has provided the finances so that we can cover what we should cover.
More importantly, God has worked in us to cause us to cling to Him and to do what He calls us to do. He is leading step by step. He is giving us the faith to follow Him without knowing where He will take us. He is focusing us on what is real and giving us hope for today. He gives us confidence that where we are going is where He wants us to be. He focuses us on the eternal issues and gives us greater freedom to live with integrity and strength today.
He keeps us safe. We are powerless in ourselves, but we are safe. What we cannot do for ourselves, God has promised to do for us. Not only does He promise, He does.
We all have to focus on either what we want to happen, or how we are going to live. For us as followers of Jesus, we are called to focus on how we are going to live and to trust God to take care of everything else. Jesus has saved us ultimately. The life we live now, we live by faith and with an ultimate confidence that we belong to Christ. He is going to bring us home. Jesus also takes care of us now. He takes care of us wherever He takes us. Living through cancer, or dying of cancer. Giving our family more time with Ann, or taking her home. He gives us strength to go into the valley of the shadow of death. He accomplishes good while we are there.
He is with us wherever we go, and our confidence is that He is taking us home. Traveling with Him we are safe.
LBOC wants to know, how has God led you through difficult times? Comment below.
Steve Green is a Biblical Counselor in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. He lives with his wife and children in Newberg, Oregon. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine (B.A.) and Westminster Seminary in California (M. Div). He has worked as a pastor for 21 years and has founded Impact Biblical Counseling which works closely with churches to provide Biblical Counseling for their members. He also blogs on his own web page (www.ImpactBiblicalCounseling.com) as well as writing for other blogs (including Biblical Counseling Coalition’s blog). He is a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors and the American Association of Christian Counselors.
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