I doubt there is a Christian alive who hasn’t wondered when their life is turned upside down, “What is God doing?!” It’s usually when things don’t make sense… events are out of control… our life isn’t taking the path we hoped or asked God for… we’re having to wait… or we are confused. And it seems this most often happens when we are seeking God with all our heart… when we’re trying to live for and honor Him with our life.
Question: “Are WE serving God for the things He has, or to know Him better?” When adversity arises, then the motivations of our heart are revealed. Are we seeking the benefits of being associated with God or a closer relationship with Him? Truth: God will not be a tool, or a means to an end, for anyone. God will not be used. Consider two examples…
Example 1: In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 it is recorded that Israel lost a battle with the Philistines. In response, Saul commanded that the Ark of the Covenant be brought SO THAT they could defeat their enemy. Read closely what Saul said because it is revealing… “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that IT may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies” (1 Sam 4:3). Since when is God an “IT?” Saul didn’t “need” God until he got in a tight. Only then did call for “divine” help. The result was that God allowed Israel to be defeated and the Ark to be captured by the Philistines. God will not be used.
Example 2: There was a time when people followed Jesus because of the miracles He did. Consider, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25). Jesus knew the reason people “believed” was for what they hoped to get. They didn’t want to know Him, they wanted the things he had. The result was that Jesus “did not entrust himself to them…” God (Jesus) will not be used.
John Piper asks this question (Paraphrased)… “Would heaven be heaven if it had all the things you want… family, no tears, streets of gold, rewards, etc… but God was absent. Would heaven still be heaven?” His point is that what makes heaven HEAVEN is God’s presence! If we worship, read our Bible, tithe, witness, sing in the choir, or do any of a thousand things for the wrong reason (To get God’s “things” instead of knowing Him)… we are spinning our wheels. God will not be used.
What if the way to have a closer relationship with God, the way to grow in our faith, the way to become more like Jesus, the way to experience God is adversity… hardship… and difficulty? What if God is most glorified by us losing our job… losing our reputation… losing our material possessions… losing everything? Would we worship God just as passionately… with as much emotion… with as much joy?
Maybe… just maybe… God is testing us for us to find out whether we worship Him for His things or simply because of who He is. Ponder that for a moment or two…
Job said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” Paul said, ” I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” The prophet Habakkuk said, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” When David’s baby died, after praying for God to heal the child, he got up… cleaned himself… and went to the House of God to worship.
God is no less God whether we are in adversity or in the midst of peace… whether things are good or bad. God is always God and therefore always worthy of worship!
I believe I can answer the “What is God doing” question… the “Why?” questions of life… at least for Christians. It is found in Romans 8:29. The reason is that God is not leaving to chance (That is the meaning of the “P” word in this verse) conforming us into the image of Christ. Everything God brings/allows into the Christian’s life is for the purpose of making them more like Jesus. What is God doing? Maturing us. Why is God allowing this? So that we will be more like Jesus! What should we do? Worship God for who He is!