How to trust God in spite of our circumstances?
Rev. Shine P. Thomas
We all go through seasons of joy and despair. In times of peace and joy, it is easy to sing about God’s salvation. At such times we say God is good, life is great. Yet there are other times in life, isn’t it? Times when life is hard, when sorrow fills our hearts, when things are not working out as we plan and we wonder if God is even there for us.
You have a great destiny in spite of your circumstances. As a young boy David was anointed king of Israel. Life did not change much for him. Soon, he was back in the wild taking care of the flocks. Sometime later David to find the whereabouts of his brothers in battle and in the process he killed Goliath. Soon, King Saul appointed him as a soldier. David became so popular in Israel that King Saul became jealous of him. Saul is so eaten up with envy and paranoia that he tried to take David’s life on several occasions. David sensing danger eventually had to flee for his life.
He had been promised the throne, but in reality he is now in the wildness, all alone, chased after, and absolutely no hope for the promise to full. David looks at the reality of his life and the promises that God had given him and wrote Psalm 13.
Psalm 13:1-2 1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Notice the words, “How long?” This question is repeated four times in two verses. It speaks of a very intense desire for deliverance.
David is feeling forgotten by God. He is struggling with anguish and sorrow every day. His enemies are all over him and he’s wondering how long this will go on. The circumstances surrounding his life, it is no where compared to the promises of God.
I don’t know if today some of you here are in the same situation. On one side you have great promises from God, you know you have the talent, you are doing your best; but on the other side, your life is no way related to your promise. Let me tell you:
1. Your circumstances don’t define your destiny.
There are times in our life when the reality is far from our dreams. That is the time to trust God’s because he who has promised you is faithful to fulfill that promise. Don’t quit.
Romans 12:12 MSG Don’t quit in hard times.
The facts will say, “You saw the medical report. You do not have the training, the education for that promotion. Your son will never break that addition. Your child will never improve, look at the progress card. You will not accomplish your dreams.” In the midst of everything God is telling, “I have promised you a great future and I will fulfil it, don’t quit in hard times.”
Illustration: There was a time when Jacob had to flee his father’s house. Yes, he did mistake, cheated his brother and father and tried to run on his own. The Bible says the sun set that day and he had no more light to travel.
I don’t know if anyone is here because the sun has set on you. It maybe your mistake or it may be the path you have taken. You are now enduring a dark and long night. He stopped for the night midway, taking one of the stones as pillow he went down to sleep. All his dreams were shattered but God spoke to him in a dream. Genesis 28:15 I am with you and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. God is a gracious God. He is not telling, “Jacob, you are a cheater. No, whatever your circumstances I will not leave you. my grace is much more than your foolishness.” We know the life of Jacob. God blessed and prospered him and brought him back to Bethel.
Looking at your fact, you may think that all is over for you but I want to tell you God is right where you are. He has plans to prosper you. You may not see a way in the natural, but he is a supernatural God. He can do what medicines cannot do. He can promote you without the training. He can make rivers in a desert. He is not limited by the laws of nature, science, or finance. So, don’t let the facts blur your vision, when you believe all things are possible.
Illustration: In 2 Kings 7, the Israelites were surrounded by a major army. This army had cut off their food supply, waiting for them to starve to death and then take the land. Prophet Elisha said to the Israelites, “By this time tomorrow there will be so much food, you will be able to buy bread very cheap. They king’s assistant said, “Elisha what are you talking about? That is totally impossible. We are surrounded. We are outnumbered. We are starving. There is no food. We are weak.” In other words he looked at the facts and said there is no way, it is never going to happen. Elisha the prophet looked at the king’s assistant and said, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.”
Later that day 4 lepers who were sitting outside the city started walking toward the enemy gates. God caused it to sound like a huge army was approaching. The enemy panicked and took off running for their lives and left all of their food and supplies. The lepers went back and told the Israelites that the enemy was gone and there was an abundance of food. The assistant who did not believe was in charge of the city gates. When he opened them up to let the people out, they were so excited, he got knocked down and was trampled to death. Everyone else could buy bread for one penny a loaf but not him.
When circumstances are against you, trust in God’s promises for your life. That is the time you must say, “God I believe you are bigger than these facts. I don’t see a way but I know you can still make a way.” Too often we only look at things from a natural logical point of view. This is my financial statement. These are the numbers pastor. This is what the medical report says. These are the grades of my child. No your circumstances don’t define who you are. If God has promised you something he will do it.
Illustration: After my PUC I applied for a high precision course in Tool & Die Making in NTTF. The vacancy was just 120 students but more than 6000 candidates came for the interview. I was not a bright student. I had no one to recommend for me. All the odds are against me but I knew God had promised me this. I prayed, “God the odds are against me but I know you are for me. If you want me in this course, you can open the door and make it happen.” After 2 months I received a registered letter saying, “You are selected.”
There are times when you will have to turn all the negatives of your mind. Your mind will tell you all the reasons why it is not going to happen. I am all for having commonsense, being wise, calculative but God does not work according to our calculations. If God has promised you something and your life is away from it, you need to trust God beyond your circumstances because your circumstances do not define who you are.
2. Unbelief limits God.
Unbelief is the biggest tool the enemy puts in our mind when we are in a crisis. The devil will give you all the ideas why it will not work out, why you cannot get better. If you believe his lie, he will rob you from your destiny. God wants you to trust him in uncertainties of life.
In Matthew 13 Jesus after starting his public ministry was going back home. Here are his townsmen, family members, his friends, the ones he had grown up with. The Bible says Jesus could not do any miracles there. These people were waiting for deliverance for a long time. They were waiting for the Messiah but when the Messiah showed up they did not believe him. Jesus wanted to do big miracles but he could not do much because of unbelief. Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
In other words, because of their unbelief, our Big God was limited. How is your heart today? Jesus wants to give you a breakthrough but is your heart prepared for a miracle? Do you believe that God is powerful enough inspite of your situations and limitations?
Illustration: We had to take a 10-year home loan to construct our house. We finished the construction and moved into our new home. After paying the loan EMI and the expenses of our family we hardly had any money leftover but Glory always used to say we must finish our loan in 5 years’ time. I said how is it possible? I just could not come in terms with her statement because I knew the reality. She kept on telling and praying for a 5-year repayment.
After 2 years, Glory got a promotion as the Assistant Quality Manager of her company. It came unexpected and out of so many people she got selected. It took our finances to a different level altogether. When I was writing my last loan EMI cheque, it was 4 years and 11 months.
The difference was, I was focused on the facts, Glory focused on the promise. Glory had the same facts and information, instead of looking at the facts; she chose to believe what God put in her heart. She wasn’t denying the facts, she was simply saying, “It’s not possible in the natural but God I know you are a supernatural God. You are not limited by our income but you have all power, I stretch my faith for a miracle”
Illustration: 1 Kings 17 there was a widow living during a great famine. She was a single-parent mother. All of her funds had run out, she had no food, no way to survive. She went outside to gather some firewood. She and her son were going to eat what they thought were their last meal. As she was collecting sticks she was greeted by Elijah. He said, “Would you please make me something to eat.” She said Elijah, “I would love to but all I have is a little flower and a little oil. Its going to be our last meal”. He said, “I understand that, just make me something first and you can eat what is leftover.” It seemed like he was being selfish, but Elijah knew what he was doing. It is the principle, when you put God first, when you act in faith, he will take care of you. All of her logic, and reasoning and fact said, “Don’t give when you are starving to death.” Inspite of what her mind told her she was still willing to do it. She cooked the last bit of flower and the drop of oil, made Elijah some bread. After serving the prophet she went to those containers expecting them to be empty, but much to her surprise there was still some flower and oil left. This happened day after day, month after month and the supply never ran out. She believed against all odds and God supernaturally multiplied her provisions.
It is interesting that God did not stop the famine, the conditions around her were just the same. God simply blessed her in the midst of the famine. Sometimes we think that the economy has to improve, my conditions have to change. No God can bless you right in the middle of the famine if you have faith. God has an appointed time and in his time he will bless you in spite of what is going on around you.
3. Wait patiently for the Lord’s time.
Remember God is working on your behalf even when you cannot see it. A man of faith will say, “I will not quit in hard times. I will want in faith until the promise is fulfilled.”
See the promises for the believer who waits:
Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Many times waiting for the promise can be a painful process. Maybe you are crying out like David in Psalm 13, “Lord how long? I cannot endure this. How long before I see a breakthrough in my family, in my life, in my career?”
I find a new perspective of waiting in Psalm 130.
Psalm 130:5-6 5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, (He understand there is no other way out) and in his word I put my hope. 6I wait for the Lord more than the watchman waiting for the morning, more than the watchman waiting for the morning.
The night watchman has to just sit and endure a dark and lonely night hoping the morning will come. He knows for sure the morning will come but he cannot do anything to fast forward the night but just wait in hope until it is dawn. He is helpless but he is sure that the morning will come.
I want to tell you, “Your morning will surely come. If God has called you there are set seasons of joy and breakthrough coming your way. He has not called you to abandon you in the night; no very soon the morning is coming.” So, hold on, wait until the break of dawn.
Coming back to the life of David in Psalm 13, we can find how he dared to believe in spite of his wilderness circumstances. Yes, there were words of despair, “How long?” He questioned God’s timing but soon he regained his faith and trusted in God.
Psalm 13:5-6 5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
How to respond as you wait for the Lord?
a. Trust God’s unfailing love.
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
In the midst of his desperation, David pauses to confess his trust and joy in God.
b. Don’t lose your song.
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
He sings to celebrate God’s goodness. Have you lost your song? Rejoice in the Lord. No matter what happens I will rejoice in the Lord’s salvation, His saving grace said David.
c. Do your best in spite of your circumstances.
Psalm 13:6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
There were times of loneliness, depression. Probably David did not want to meet anyone but he said, “In spite of what is happening I will do my best for the Lord. I will sing, I will rejoice, and I will trust in God.”
We know David went on to become the second King of Israel. God changed his mourning into dancing. David later said: Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
Conclusion: Dare to believe inspite of your circumstances. God would not have put that dream in your heart if it was not his plan for you. God has set times of breakthrough coming your way. God has beauty for your ashes, joy for your mourning. He has set seasons of growth and blessings coming our way. Will you dare to believe in God today!