One question in the Bible (and my life) that pops up frequently is, “Do my circumstances define God, or does God define my circumstances?”
Whenever something goes wrong–when I feel sad, unproductive, angry, or scared–my first instinct is to blame God. And scream at him. And sometimes, we see this in the Bible. Job’s circumstances were unfair, but he tells God how he feels about it. So does the writer of Psalm 88. It’s not necessarily wrong. But while it’s okay to be in this place, it’s not okay to stay there. And it’s not okay to let our circumstances tell us who God is.
Some good examples of people who question God’s character because of their circumstances:
– The Israelites before they cross the Red Sea. As Pharaoh’s army encroaches, they wonder if God meant to kill them and think they’d be better off in slavery (Exodus 14:11-12).
– The Israelites when there is a water shortage in Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-6).
– Again, the Israelites complain when there is no food, thinking that the circumstance God has allowed is worse than if he killed them (Exodus 16:1-4).
The Israelites aren’t the only people who question God’s character because of their circumstances. But in every situation, God responds with salvation, water, and food–he provides everything the Israelites need. They must only have faith.
The point is, when we have a lack of something–and maybe even a lack of food or water could be what you’re facing–we’re ready to take any excuse to not have faith. Are we going to let circumstances define God, or will we turn to the Bible to tell us who He is? When I was home last weekend, I saw a lot of problems with our house. I was distressed. I wanted to believe God was trying to hurt us by everything that happened over the summer. But that trouble passed, and for then, I should have realized that in the Bible, God has never been defined by our circumstances, because that’s who he is. We shouldn’t look to our circumstances to tell us who God is. We should look to him.
All for now,