brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs; You have
caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through
water; but You brought us out to abundance” (Psalm 66:11-12)
received the following email: “Ron, I read
this week's Friday Study, Acts 23: 31-35. I have a question on a
statement you made in verse 32; ‘Any
difficulty that seems to trouble you is allowed by the Lord, and he has
good purpose in all that happens.’ This is where I have difficulty,
where it appears that God allows everything to happen. My understanding
is, simply put, God only does good things. We also have free will and
the "Adversary". Let me know your thoughts. God Bless You, Dennis”.
I responded by email, and the next
day, Dennis and I read the response together at one of the computers in
the local Veterans Administration Medical Center. As is our custom on
Friday afternoons, we then went out into the patio area and talked; him
in his motorized wheelchair and me on a bench. I agreed with Dennis
that we have free-will and often our difficulties in life are
self-caused. Also, there surely is an “Adversary” called Satan, who has
a “Wanted Dead” poster on the lives of every one of us. He will do all
the harm he can, in your life and mine.
But trouble is indeed “allowed” by
the Lord, and He will inevitably bring good out of it for every one of
us. God is sovereign in ALL things, which means your problems (or your
“good times” for that matter) could disappear in an instant; except that
God has a good intention in them, for you.
Sometimes, as in our Scripture for
today, God will directly CAUSE those difficulties. He was the Author of
the curse upon mankind, stating in Genesis 3:17-18 that “thorns
and thistles” will grow out of our efforts, identifying Him as
the Creator of “Murphy’s Law” which we
experience constantly in life (“whatever CAN
go wrong, WILL go wrong”).
Our Scripture for today includes, “You
have caused men to ride over our heads” (Psalm 66:11-12),
alerting us that sometimes the person who “ruins our life” was allowed
to do so by the Lord. Of course, before YOU ride off and hurt someone
else or get angry at God, also note there is JUDGEMENT for the person
who is God’s agent in such matters. Babylon was God’s tool in
destroying the nation Judah (Jeremiah 25:9), but also Babylon was to be
punished for what they had done (Jeremiah 25:12). You won’t get away
with harming others.
He let Babylon do what they WANTED –
they destroyed Judah, and there was purpose in this, for God’s people
were lost in sin and only Judgment would return them to the Lord.
Babylon enjoyed their victory, but they killed and ruined many in the
process, and were Judged for what they had done. God is Sovereign in
everything, and He is also JUST in all that He does.
Note the rest of our Scripture for
today: “we went through fire and through water;
but You brought us out to abundance” (Psalm 66:11-12). There is
a good outcome for any trouble you have ever experienced; and His
ultimate intention is that you will place your faith and trust in the
Lord Jesus Christ; to find depths of His love that you never expected.
couple of years ago, I received a potted plant from one of the Board
Members of Friday Study Ministries and it has been on my desk ever
since. The plant was from Genevieve, who became my fiancee and then my
wife, and it celebrated our acceptance as a church by the U.S. Internal
Revenue Service. That plant is very special.
would not know just how special it is from appearance, however. Not
long ago, I watered it too much and nearly killed it. Most of the
leaves turned yellow and it obviously was unhappy. It largely
recovered, but not completely. Last week I MEANT to water the plant,
but was busy and didn't get it done.
the weekend, its leaves were drooping as it visually sent the message,
"Help me!" I gave it water and its leaves then rose to meet the
sunlight. The plant then said, "Ahhh, I like it," in response to the
water it received.
plant tenderly cared for by a Master Gardener, you and I are nursed by
the Lord. Unlike Him, I sometimes forget my plant and don't really know
what to do for it. Our Lord constantly has us in mind, and He ALWAYS
knows what to do. We are IMPORTANT to Him, and He cares for you more
than you care for yourself.
like that plant on my desk, you and I need EVERYTHING! It needs to be
cared for and so do we. And we’re not satisfied until our need is met.
Unlike us, the plant does not think on its own, but the reality is that
we don’t do so well with thinking, either. We’re actually very limited,
and we often make the poor choices Dennis mentioned in his email. And
there is an enemy who would harm us if he could. We need Someone
outside of ourselves to make good decisions for us.
Lord God, Maker of heaven and of earth, is WAITING for you to lift your
heart to the Sonlight of Jesus Christ, and be turned into someone
beautiful. By trusting fully in Jesus, you’ll discover that “God
only does good things”, just as Dennis said in his message. It’s
simply that His good intentions are often not the same as our demands.
The Lord is saying to you right now,
“fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you
are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and
through the rivers, they shall not overflow you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
Lord, I come to You, now. I don’t
really know how to meet anyone’s needs, let alone my own. I’ve made
decisions that were not so good and I feel drowned by my difficulties
and yet at the same time, parched with a thirst I cannot satisfy. Fill
my heart and life with love. Forgive me for what I have done (and not
done), and rescue me now. Let me LIVE in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)