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God and Circumstances

www.insidethebible.ca /god-and-circumstances/
Micah Hackett
Life is basically, in a simple definition, the sum total of our circumstances. Our accomplishments are successful
responses to various circumstances and opportunities. Our mistakes are negative responses to our circumstances
and opportunities. And if we are going to be faithful with the life God has given each of us, we must have a firm
understanding of this subject. Throughout this article, the word circumstance could easily be replaced with trial,
though not all references to circumstances are necessarily about trials.

I. God Is Not Defined By Circumstances


While we should desire to see Gods faithfulness in and through our experiences, we must also be careful that we
dont think His faithfulness is defined by them. They may prove His faithfulness, but they do not define it. When we
think otherwise, we limit our view of God. After all, if we base our concept of Him on what we are going through, by
that logic, we may have reason to doubt God if our current circumstance is trial. But that is never the case. Instead
we must learn not to base our view of God on our circumstances, but to base our view of circumstances on God.
One of these must be subjective to the other, and we must be sure that our view trials is subjective to the Truth of
Gods Person. You see, our view of God in itself really does not matter unless it is fully based on His Word: what
really matters is His own view of Himself, which is this: Great is Thy faithfulness. There it is settled in Heaven:
this is absolute truth. But what about circumstances that seem to contradict this? In that case, we must understand
that contradiction is in the eyes of the perceiver, and what we may see as illogical may in fact be a basic truth in
Gods eyes.
This is something which those in Hebrews 11 had to learn, wasnt it? These all died in faith, not having received the
promises, but having seen them afar off but now they desire a better country, that is, a Heavenly one. God was
faithful to them: this is fact. As to the perception of it, these Old Testament believers took it by faith on the basis of a
non-circumstantial focus. Had their eyes been on their trials or even on Gods promises as opposed to Himself, they
may not have been listed in this chapter. But instead they looked toward a Heavenly land and counted themselves
strangers on earth. This was their secret. They trusted God, because they were God-focused, not earth-focused. Do
you want to be faithful in trial? Then be persuaded of Gods faithfulness solely on His Word and confess that we are
strangers and pilgrims on earth, for they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. Have you
confessed that?

II. Circumstances Are Defined By God


The first Scripture we see this proven in is 1 Corinthians 10:13 God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tested
above that you are able, but will with the test (temptation/trial) make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear
it. God may not remove the trial or temptation, but since He does make a way of escape, He shows that He is still
sovereign. In that sovereignty, He defines circumstances by controlling their weight. We may not think that a certain
trial is possible to bear, but if it comes our way, we can know that it is bearable. Of course, there is the possibility of
forgetting our way of escape and being overcome by it. Now, this is not an escape from the trial, but from the burden
of it. The focus in our verse is on the bearing of, not the substance of the test. This means our escape is actually
the grace of God, which He says is sufficient for thee: my strength is made perfect in your weakness. And so,
when you are in a difficult circumstance, dont look at it as the absence of Gods favour, but as an opportunity for the

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presence of His grace.


Furthermore, circumstances are not only defined by Gods controlling the burden of them, but they are defined by
God in that He works ALL of them together for good to them that love God and to them that are called according to
His purpose. At first, we may not be able to see how something could be used for God in any possible way, yet
thankfully we are not called to understand, but to trust. This is why the verse is directed to those called according to
His purpose. We would not be called according to His purpose if there was meaninglessness behind anything that
happens to us: in order for there to be a true purpose, all must work together for good. Even so, this is still Gods
work, which we may not understand. And if He was obligated to show us His plan for our circumstances, He would
not be God. His nature means He must know things that our pitiful minds will never understand. Yet He graciously
gives us this: All things work together for good to them that love God This is all we need to know and thankfully
so, because our minds would not be able to comprehend the vastness of His great power and workings in our lives.

III. We Can Trust God and Grow By Circumstances


God does not expect us to figure out certain things about His plan, and perhaps we will never know why He does
certain things. But that is not the issue. The real issue is not to understand Gods plan, but to grow by what we do
know of the circumstances. Even when we dont know where to go in certain situations, we can still grow.
For example, James 1:3 says The trying of your faith works patience. This is not going, but growing even in the
stillness. Furthermore, it produces contentment. It also sets our eyes on Heaven. It also give us wisdom. It also
produces blessing. It also purifies our hearts from sin often. All this but only if we are willing to grow properly,
because often we dont respond right and instead grow in bitterness. This is the danger of forgetting our way of
escape: we can be overcome by the burden and fall deeper into sin and lukewarm Christianity. So then, when we
approach a test of faith, we should fear the possibility of bitterness. But on the flipside, we should have confidence in
our gracious Master, Who when we turn to Him will help us grow in His grace. A circumstance is an opportunity, and
it is neither inevitably good or inevitably bad, though they do hold both tremendous danger and tremendous
potential simultaneously. Our response to it is what determines the result.

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