Devotional

“And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” –  Luke 10:39 (ESV). 

“Is God trying to teach me a lesson?” 

“Is God trying to get my attention?” 

“Is God try to punish me for the all the wrongs in my life?” 

God is teaching us at all times, but when we see bad things as God’s hand in our lives, we need to examine and adjust our view of God. We serve a loving, caring God.  It is easy to interpret difficulties in life as “lessons” from God. It makes God out to be someone who toys with His people, who purposefully sends trouble into the lives of those He loves in order to “teach” them something. 

Jesus called attention to this way of thinking when He said, “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 9:7-11) 

That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t allows bad things to happen to good people or that He allows the wicked to prosper at the expense of the suffering of righteous people. We’ll never know why God, who is complete and total love, allows bad circumstances to invade our lives. It doesn’t mean there won’t be negative in our lives. But it does mean God doesn’t randomly teach you a lesson by giving you a hard time. God is not proving you are meaningless. He is not pointing out your flaws.  His gifts to you are not based on your actions and behavior on a particular day. But God may well be teaching you that you are loved and that your life has purpose, even when it feels pointless.

When something unexpected happens in our life, or in our world, it’s easy for us to ask God why it happened. We want to live the blessed “abundant life” (John 10:10 ESV) that Jesus said He was bringing, and we forget that He also told us that “here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33)  The question is this: are we asking the right question? Maybe the question should not be “why” but “what” Lord, what do you want me to learn from this journey? What good do you want to come from this? What testimony will I have from this?”

By asking “what” instead of “why” it puts God back on His throne. Asking “what” suggests humility, trusting God. Asking “what” requires a mindset shift, an intentional decision to trust God. It makes the hard times a little easier to bear, knowing that there is something to learn during our hard circumstances and our struggles. His plan isn’t always what our heart wants. We want to understand right now why this has happened. We want to know the reason for it. We want to know what good will come of it. But Scripture continually reminds us that God is God and we are not and that He has a plan that we cannot see, but we can learn from.  

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What are some things that God is trying to teach you?
  2. How would your week be different if you changed the “why” to “what”?