When we are going through difficulties, sometimes it is hard to discern who is behind it. We often become over-wrought wondering whether it is the devil’s hand at work, God dealing with us, or something we have brought upon ourselves.
In the end, what difference does it make?
Would knowing add anything to your faith or change your response?
Rarely does the Lord tell us what is happening, so our response has to be the same no matter what.
If it is the Lord’s dealing, disciplining, or pruning at work in our lives, the best response is to draw nearer to the Lord, bow before Him, worship Him, and humbly ask for His help.
If it is the devil at work, our best response is draw nearer to the Lord, bow before Him, worship Him, and humbly ask the Lord for His help.
If we have brought this trouble upon ourselves our best response is draw nearer to the Lord, bow before Him, worship Him, and humbly ask the Lord for His help.
I learned this from watching Job, David, and the apostle Paul.
I doubt Job ever knew what hit him. He didn’t write the book of Job and I doubt if he ever read it. His friends said that it all happened because God was dealing with his hidden sin and pride. There is no record of God ever telling him that. Even Job got it wrong too, so God had to adjust his perspective. As we read the first few chapters of the book, we can see what really was taking place behind the scenes. Then when we read the last few chapters it reveals the sovereignty of God at work in his life. Job’s best response was to draw nearer to the Lord, bow before Him and worshipping Him, humbly asking for God’s help.
David went through many tests. Some of them were because of his own failures, other times we can see that it was really God dealing him. Sometimes it was God dealing with other people in his life, like Saul. Other times it was clearly the enemy attacking him through people. We know he went through about a ten-year period of being chased around the wilderness by a mad man who was trying to kill him. He lived in wilderness caves before he was finally given the leadership of the nation, but his response always seemed to be to draw nearer to the Lord, bow before Him, worship Him anyway and humbly ask the Lord for help.
About the first fifty Psalms were written by David and give us a hint of the kind of trouble he was in and what his response. I find it very moving to read. At one time, he prayed and said, “Lord, if they kill me, who will worship you?”
He knew the way to the Lord’s heart.
Obviously, the apostle Paul went through much suffering during the 25-30 years he spent in ministry. Was it all this fault? We know the Lord foretold him that he would suffer much for Him, but maybe it the devil that sunk all those ships or that beat him to a pulp so often? Was it a demon sent to keep him humble? It is hard to discern in each circumstance, but his response was always the same; he just kept walking in what he knew to be the will of God, drew nearer to the Lord, bowed down before Him, worshiped Him anyway, and humbly asked the Lord for help.
We would do well to do the same.