Problem? No problem!

 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)

Earlier in the week, I was referred to the story about Samson where he ate the honey out of the carcass of the dead lion. This story is referenced in Judges 14, about how Samson killed a lion and later, when passing by where the lion lay dead, he found that bees had made some honey in the carcass. He gathered some of the honey and ate it with his parents, while traveling.

To relate this portion of Samson’s life to the verse from Romans, I will add only this verse from Judges 14:

V 4 His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time.

When we are making mistakes in our life, God is making plans to render the fruit of our actions, into something that will glorify Him.

I had been studying and focusing on Judges 14 for the past few days in preparation for writing this devotional. After all, Samson is a person with many faults and serious troubles due to his actions. However, this morning on the way into work, I heard the Romans 8 verse raised on the radio and immediately I knew that I was not to focus on Samson. He is only an example, for understanding how great God’s plans involve our worse actions. How God will glorify Himself despite our faults.

Please keep in mind, I am not endorsing careless living, purposeful mistakes and sinfulness.

This verse comes to mind as I am writing:

Hebrews 11: 32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.

Through the Romans 8 scripture, Paul is informing you that you MUST have patience. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to express any patience when everything is crashing down on you. Whether or not you are the cause for trouble, Paul expresses a reason for you to continue to exercise patience. That reason in this one specific verse is this: Because God is working through “His” plan for “your” good.

Do you love God? In a past devotional I emphasized a person’s words in contrast to their obedience to God’s will. How in one breath one will say they love God but in their actions, lack submission to God. My point, in the moment when ALL is a disaster, those who love God… He is working to turn the disaster into a means to bring glory to Himself. Does this mean that the troubles go away?

Yes and NO!

Please do not be discouraged by that answer of, NO. Through any weakness that we may have, God reveals His strength through us. Reread the verses from Hebrews and find in v34 how this truth is emphasized. Paul also emphasized how God will take our weakness and prove His strength through us:

2 Cor 12: 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Paul had a problem that was overcoming him in such a way that he called out to God three times for the removal of that problem. God’s answer, NO! But God provided a reason for saying, NO to Paul’s three prayers.

This problem was a way that God had taught Paul about patience and the power of grace in our life. The many various problems Paul faced and the problems that you will face are for a purpose. Production of glory to God and also, to help use mature and express qualities of being like Christ.

Qualities of being like Christ? Thank you for wondering about what I raised.

Galatians 5: 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Submission to God was mentioned earlier and submission produces results. Paul provides for us an example of the results of submission to God. Verses 24 through 26 is produce of submission and “love” of God in action. Verses 22-23 is illumination about what “change” is happening within you when you love God and are, in submission.

You will become more like Christ. You will begin to both experience and express:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Please know, the problems may not change, but you will change!! This in effect may “cause” the problem to not even be a problem anymore. Even as it continues, you will be satisfied in the midst of the problem as Paul learned what grace is all about. You also will declare the Lord’s strength in your life to others as you patiently endure the problems of this life.