“And the Lord gave the people favor in sight of the Egyptians.” Exodus 11:3
Have you ever wondered why God allows hardship?
- You obey God in a situation or relationship, yet things get worse.
- You surrender your life or relationship to Him, yet things get worse.
- You desperately pray, yet things get worse.
Cathy had three children she was raising alone after divorcing her abusive husband. The kids were exposed to a toxic environment when they visited their dad’s house. She worked two jobs and saw one of her teens develop self-harming behaviors. When life got worse, she clung to her hope in Jesus Christ, not giving up.
Was God absent in her life? Or were the incidences part of a bigger story God was writing?
The latter is true. Today, all of Cathy’s adult children are in healthy, married relationships. Cathy is growing in personal and professional areas which seem impossible during the “for worse” moments. Cathy’s story is similar to many of ours; we can’t see a future of good because the present is bad.
The same principle is throughout the Bible. One story catches my attention. Throughout the Exodus story, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Yet at the precise moment, God caused favor upon Moses and the Hebrew people (Exodus 11:3) for the final deliverance. God does nothing less than that today.
If you feel like your life is getting worse right now, here are 5 truths based on Scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1.We only see what’s in front of us, which is limited perspective. When today is “worse,” tomorrow always has the propensity for something different. The present doesn’t remain “as is” forever. God’s mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:23)
2.God authors both good and bad days. If you blame God for the bad things happening in your life, you must also give Him credit for the good things. Do you have food today? Do you have basic comforts and supportive people around you? These are gifts from your heavenly Father: “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17. Focus on what is going right rather than what’s going wrong. See the ways God is working in the situation. You can’t see these when you focus solely on the negative.
3.God’s timing is perfect. God is working in people and situations we cannot see, yet we fixate on what’s in front of us. When God was hardening Pharaoh’s heart at the detriment of the Hebrew slaves (Exodus 5-6), they couldn’t see how He was working all of it for a greater favor and purpose.
4.Obedience to God results in blessing. Exodus 11:3 shows favor only God could provide for Moses and the Hebrew people. Moses obeyed everything God told him to do, despite discouragement and people coming against him. At just the right time, God granted Moses and the Hebrews favor which positioned them for deliverance.
5.God delivers His children. In the midst of the plagues of Exodus 7-11, God protected his children. He does the same today. His timing is for our protection, greater purpose, and always for His glory.
Are you in a situation which seems to get worse? Are you wondering why God’s not answering your cry? If you have a personal relationship with Christ, you are protected from God’s enemy. God is working and going before you, though you may not see it. Grab hold of the truths above, be obedient to what God’s calling you to do. Look forward to the land of peace.
As a counselor, life coach, and teacher of history, I’ve seen hundreds of stories where goodness is in the next chapter. The enemy wants us to stay stuck, focusing on the worse that’s happening today. He wants you to believe God is not good. This is a lie of the enemy. God’s word and life experience says different!
Friend, look ahead! Look to the past, where you’ve seen God work. Look at the lives of others, where you can see how God has brought about goodness from hard places. Look at everyday miracles, praising God for what He’s doing.
You will get through this through the power of Jesus Christ, who has power over death and has defeated the devil. You are His. Let Him lead you first in perspective, then one foot in front of the other into the land of green pastures (Psalm 23).
Where can you look ahead? How can I pray for you?