Ever wonder what God’s perspective is on each our current situations?
Are you overwhelmed by your circumstances? Are you stressed by COVID, politics, or the social unrest we’re experiencing right now? Are you living a life you never planned because of choices you made that you now regret? Are you buried by debt? Are you grieving the loss of relationships? Are you fearful of the future?
I think many of us have experienced some of these in our lives and may be struggling right now with our emotions, doubts, and fears. I know I think limiting thoughts about what I can’t do because of where I am now in age, physical condition, or financial situation. I feel trapped by past choices feeling that I’ve created a “less than” life sentence for myself, unable to reach the life I thought I would have by now.
But God opened my eyes and my heart to this truth: My dissatisfaction and regret are faith issues.
–When I dwell on regret from past choices that have brought me to this point in my life—
–When I wish I could change the choices I made in the past so that I would be different today–
–When I feel I’ve missed opportunities—
–When I believe I’ve hindered what I can accomplish now by what I did then—
I’m telling God I can’t do what I feel I’m supposed to be doing because of what I did before. I don’t trust God to enable me to do what I feel He’s calling me to, or I am not trusting God that what He is calling me to is a real calling, and I’m longing for something other than His plan. I am diminishing His sovereign will or His sovereign power in my life by my limited and defeated attitude.
Plus, my regret and grief over the past makes me ineffectual in my present and fearful of the future. It is crippling me as a child of God. It is causing me to slam the door in God’s face and walk away from His current plan on my life.
We look at the outside while God looks at the heart. We look at our circumstances instead of walking by faith, not by sight.
When we look at Scripture, we see a few important principles:
1. God is not limited by our circumstances. He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (all-present). He is not surprised by any circumstance we’re in or choice that we’ve made. He is not limited by any circumstance or situation. He is not far from us. He is here with us.
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28, NLT)
2. He often uses our circumstances to help us grow closer to Him and more like Him (that’s fruit growing in our lives).
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4, NLT)
3. We can follow God in faith or fall into a victim mentality imprisoned by our attitudes about our circumstances.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:37, NLT)
4. When put in God’s hands, our circumstances become a catalyst for ministry to others.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)
5. God allows circumstances we can’t handle (regardless of the adage that God never gives us more than we can handle) because WITH HIM we can do all things. We can handle any circumstance with the help of God, relying on the Holy Spirit’s comfort and wisdom. Without Him, we. can. do. nothing.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5, NLT)
Our current reality may have us in a situation we aren’t embracing for whatever reason. However, if we quit regretting and start letting God into our situation, He can make anything beautiful, and He can work through anyone who is willing. We’ve got to stop limiting what God can do in our lives by focusing on the regret over our pasts or dissatisfaction with our present. These attitudes really are a matter of faith. We need to let God do what He wants to do, and we will see God do what only He can do. In fact, He promises that in our weakness, He is strong.
Prayer: God use our weaknesses, use our past regrets, and fill our hearts and homes with hope today.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT)
Comment by the end of this week to be entered into the drawing for a signed copy of Glenys Nellist’s sweet new Christmas story, Little Mole’s Christmas Gift.
Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.
Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.
Her blog posts are published each Thursday and discuss living as a disciple of Christ while discipling our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ.
For more information, visit her website at terriehellardbrown.com
Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.
Her motto is “Growing older is inevitable; growing up is optional” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.
Disclaimer: Although Terrie majored in psychology and sociology for her bachelor’s degree and has taught AP Psychology, she is NOT a licensed therapist. She sometimes mentions items in her blog and podcast that could be considered comments on psychology, but these comments are based on ministry experience and ministering to people through the missions and church work she’s done for the past 36 years. If you have questions about psychological disorders or counseling needs, please consider finding a reputable, licensed counselor in your area. Terrie’s comments should be seen as anecdotal and ministry-experience-related or scripture-based. Thank you!