My youngest daughter, Bianca, was very frustrated the other day, and, because of that, her attitude, words, and actions began to deteriorate. At an appropriate moment I stopped and asked her what was bugging her so badly. She exclaimed, “My Sister!” I asked “What happened? Was she mean to you?” She said “No, it’s just that she is always the bigger sister. When will it be my turn?!?”
Boy, that’s a tough one to answer. The truth is that we all go through circumstances that we wish were very different. Maybe it is the loss of a loved one. It could be the loss of a job, or financial troubles. Maybe for you it’s conflict in the family or among friends. It could be betrayal or misunderstanding. Maybe we are going through health struggles, or we could be stuck in deep confusion or depression, looking for answers. Whatever “it” is, one thing is for sure, we don’t like it!
So, What do we do with negative circumstances?
I was thinking about this the other day while reading the bible and I came across a verse that gave me pause to think. It is located in 1st Corinthians 7:24.
“So, dear brothers, whatever situation a person is in when he becomes a Christian, let him stay there, for now the Lord is there to help him.” (The Living Bible)
This is one weird verse. First of all, it seems to be telling me that I need to stay inside of my circumstances even if they are negative. That is one strange command! If you don’t believe that is what it is saying then go and read the context! Paul is talking to slave and free, rich and poor, married and unmarried, and he repeats this command in verses 17 and 20.
I would like to share with you why I believe this is some of the best advice Paul could ever give to anybody going through negative circumstances.
Let’s just make sure that we are clear. I believe that the best thing you could ever do with your current circumstances is to stay where you are, even if they are negative. Please don’t stop reading. Let me explain! First of all, this is a general principle, and with almost all principles, there are exceptions. However, that being said, one of the biggest problems that Christians face is that we don’t really know what to do with negative circumstances. The truth is, God wants us to stand our ground and become more than conquerors.
So why is this such good advice? Why should we stay put in our current circumstances. I’ll tell you why, God had a plan. Notice I did not say God has a plan (he does), I said God HAD a plan. You are not where you are by accident, but you are where you are because an amazing, incredibly loving, extremely intelligent, and clever God has created a custom made plan specifically for your life. This custom made plan has two major motives.
1. You! God wants to give you many spiritual gifts, like faith and a pure heart. To accomplish this goal, God has arranged for you to go through various trials that are meant to be a fire of purification. He is taking the awful things that the enemy threw at you, and that others did to you, and he is using them to help you. He wants to make you more beautiful, and he wants to work on the issues that you are facing in your heart and attitude.
He has worked long and hard to orchestrate your situation, not for your comfort, but for your good. So, why should you be in such a big hurry to run away from this refiners fire. It’s not going to hurt you, and no matter where you go, you will eventually have to go through something else of a similar nature. God will not relent and until he has your entire heart safe in his kingdom. That is why Paul says to stay where you are.
2. Others! One of the biggest reasons God has you where you are is because he is trying to use you to reach the others involved in your circumstances. No matter what you are going through, there are others who are also impacted, and YOU are actually God’s plan to accomplish his will in their lives. God is looking for faithful believers who will be willing to suffer through pain and loss so that others can get to know Jesus through them. When you jump ship because you don’t like what is going on then you run the risk of missing God’s will for your life and for the lives of those around you.
Quiet your heart and you may hear God saying “Who will stand in the gap for me? Who can I depend on; who can I send?” You may not like your circumstances, but is it possible that God has an amazing plan for the people around you.
Is it possible that your negative circumstances is actually the mission field and calling that God has hand picked just for you?
If you will take Paul’s advice, then stay where you are and watch what miracles God is about to accomplish! After all, the Lord is with you!!