Shattered dreams.  The economy.  Unexpected job transition.  Grim report from a physician.  A Spouse/Grandparent get’s dementia.  The phone rings at 2:00 AM from the police.  A family breaks apart.  Situations and events happen ad infinitum…

UPDATE 7:30 AM 8/25/11: This post was written several days ago.  Last night I got one of those “unexpected phone calls” about my son in Kentucky.  Everything is okay now… but for a short time I realized that this post may have very well been for me as a subtle reminder that we all (Preachers included!) need to constantly rely upon the Lord.

What is going on?  Why do these things happen?  Can we understand them?  Honestly, sometimes we’re left in the dark of no understanding… even when we ask God for help.

Several years ago I was trying to figure out a particularly difficult time in my life.  In talking with a friend who owned a Christian book store, he pointed me to John 13:7… “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but later you will.”  I was reminded of that verse by a tweet from Dr. Ray Pritchard, so I decided to reflect upon Jesus’ words again.

The second phrase is what I focused on then… and at times still do.  I wanted to know, “WHEN is later?”  Later on today?  Next week?  Next month or year?  The answer isn’t in Scripture, and God leaves it that way more than once.  Consider 1 Peter 5:6, 10…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you… 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

“At the proper time” and “a little while” are enigmatic at best!  Those didn’t help me much in my struggles.  So I decided to focus on another part of the passages that were hope filled: “Later you will (understand),” “He may exalt you,” and “(God) Himself will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  The uncertainty of when is modified by the CERTAINTY of will!

Then I followed those hope filled truths with: “He has promised NEVER to leave or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)… AND  “God will not allow you to be tested above that which you can handle but will with the test provide a way of escape that you might be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13)… AND “Come to me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest for your soul for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt 11:29-30)… AND “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Pr 3:5).

If you’ve read my blog much, you will recognize each of those passages.  I repeat them on purpose because we need to be reminded of them often.