March 17, 2016
Sometimes God uses things that happen in our lives to get our attention if we’re too distracted and thinking about too many other things and the cares of this life and the thorns and whatnot. Sometimes we’re too worried about this, that, and the other, and we get our minds off the Lord and off of trusting the Lord, and on our burdens instead of casting our burdens on Him and letting Him take care of them. I’ve been guilty of all these things, so I’m not preaching at anyone. I’m just confessing my sins and telling you how God has worked in my life.
God has an appointed time for us and for His plans for our lives. He knows the future and what we’re going to do. I frankly don’t believe that the Lord allows the Enemy to hinder the lives of His children unless we allow him or He allows it for His good purposes. Like the young prophet who allowed himself to be persuaded to disobey the Lord.1 He knew the Lord and heard from God. He knew better; he knew he shouldn’t have allowed himself to get distracted and disobey God’s specific commands to him.
I used to tell my students in school, “I wish you guys would stop talking about ‘The Devil did this and the Devil did that!’” They’d glorify the Devil as though he’s all-powerful and he could get around God and all His angels and everything else. “The Devil let the car break down. The Devil did this.” I would say, “For God’s sake, I wish you people would quit giving glory to the Devil and talking about the Devil’s works. The spirit you have the most trouble with is your own spirit—not the Devil and not his evil spirits!”
With all God’s protection and His holy angels camped around us and a great cloud of witnesses as well, good spirits praying for us and watching us and helping us, how could the Devil possibly touch us unless we somehow allow him to? Or unless the Lord allows it as a test and a trial to see just how much we want something and how determined we are, how much faith we have and how much knowledge of the Word we have, how much we stand on the Word.
I’ve got a God who is all-powerful, and He rules over everything! He won’t let the Enemy—not one of his little devils or imps or Satan himself—lay a finger on a hair of your head, unless it’s somehow warranted or part of God’s plan. God’s domain is all-powerful! He is all-powerful in the spiritual domain. The Devil cannot do a thing or let one of his little imps do so without the permission of God.
Why do you think God allowed the Prince of Persia to delay Gabriel? I don’t believe the Prince of Persia could have stopped Gabriel for one second if God hadn’t allowed it. Why do you think God allowed the message to be delayed? I believe He allowed this as a test of Daniel’s faith! He was seeing how persistent and how insistent and how importunate and how determined Daniel was to get the answer.2
Daniel was a man of courage, determination, and faith, and he stood the test of time of three weeks of delay to the answer to his prayer. God sometimes allows that sort of thing to test us and to strengthen our faith and our confidence in His Word and our trust in His power. Many times in life He allows us to be tested to see if we’re going to keep on trusting in Him.
Daniel could’ve given up after three weeks without receiving an answer. He could have given up and said, “God, You failed me. Lord, I begged You to do this and that for my people, but You let me down, You didn’t do it!” That’s a pitfall for a lot of Christians. They say, “Lord, I tried. I tried to be good. I tried to be a Christian. I tried to serve You, but I didn’t make it because You didn’t help me, You didn’t see me through, You didn’t answer prayer!” A lot of times if they had just hung on a little longer and showed that they were going to trust God like Job, even if He killed them, God would have come through.3 But they didn’t have the faith for it. They didn’t have the patience. They didn’t have the determination.
Thomas must have had a little faith or he wouldn’t have even put his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. Thomas called Him Lord, and the Lord allowed him to have proof because obviously he needed it. He was weak in faith, and the Lord tried to encourage him. But He said, “More blessed are they whom having not seen, yet have believed.”4
He commended Moses because “he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”5 As far as we know, he only got to see God and His hinder parts one time in his whole life.6 It took 40 years before he got to see any proof. He was totally defeated for about 40 years. But the Lord had mercy because Moses was going to save His people. And then He had to spend another 40 years trying to get Moses humble, out just taking care of sheep, when he hoped to deliver the Israelites, God’s chosen people.
As I used to say, sometimes God lets things happen to us to humble us, to make us humble, and later He may let things happen to us again to see if we’re still humble.
He had to humble Moses for nearly 80 years before He would show him anything! He never saw a miracle; he never saw anything, except God’s wonderful creation, and that’s all a miracle. He had to teach Moses how to lead sheep. The Lord taught him patience and tested his faith before He ever gave him a sign. Then He started giving him signs when He knew Moses was ready. Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness before he had a sign from God that God was going to use him.
What does He say about trials of faith? “The trying of your faith is more precious than gold.”7 And “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice!” Why? “Inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.”8 Why did He ever let Christ suffer? “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”9 He let Him suffer so even He knew what obedience was like, and also to even know what sin was like, even without sin, because He had to suffer for our sins.10
God is supreme, all-powerful and omniscient, all-knowing and omnipresent, everywhere! He may have a hard time getting through to some of us mortals sometimes, because of our distractions and waywardness and a lot of other things. But God has a reason for everything He does or allows in the lives of His children. “All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.”11
Originally published December 1985. Adapted and republished March 2016.
Read by Simon Peterson.
1 1 Kings 13.
2 See Daniel 10.
3 Job 13:15.
4 John 20:29.
5 Hebrews 11:27.
6 Exodus 33:23.
7 1 Peter 1:7.
8 1 Peter 4:12–13.
9 Hebrews 5:8.
10 2 Corinthians 5:21.
11 Romans 8:28.
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