Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 31, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 31 } – When Things Turn Out but not Like You Planned, Part 3

Well, it’s the last day of this Thirty-One Days writing challenge, so what better day to write my last reason for why the sea you’re facing won’t part.

Reason 3: You’re part of a much bigger picture, and there’s a lot more going on than you realize.

I’d like to talk about two Bible stories to illustrate this reason.  You know them both.  One is Esther, and the other is Job.  Let’s talk about Esther first.

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther, Chapter 4)

Esther was placed in a really rough position.  Haman had convinced her husband that all the Jewish people in the land needed to die, right?  And he had worked the plan beautifully, because any decree that the king had recorded could not be reversed.  I would consider this a sea that wasn’t going to be parted.  No, this sea was one Esther was going to have to walk through.  And it was going to be tricky.  She was going to have to maneuver Haman into a position where he would have to face the king in her presence.  So she devised a plan to have them come to dinner.  And not only once, but twice!

And what put her in this position?  It wasn’t because she was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and got picked to go to the palace.  It wasn’t because she was doing something wrong, and God was trying to get her attention so she would straighten up and change her ways.  No, someone else caused this situation, many generations before Esther showed up on the scene.  Let’s take a look:

1Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. 2This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”  (I Samuel, Chapter 15)

But what did King Saul do?  “But Saul and the army spared Agag…”  (I Samuel 15:9)

The prophet Samuel finally killed Agag.  And we aren’t given all the details, but somewhere along the way, there was a descendant of Agag that survived.  And down through the years, this descendant and his descendants had one thing in mind:  kill the Jews.  And guess who just happened to be a descendant of King Agag in Esther’s day?  Haman, son of Hammedatha, the Agagite.

See, this situation was set in motion long before Esther was even born.  And events built and came together, and then Esther was placed in the very hard position of risking her life to save her people.  It could have ended in tragedy, you know?  Only God could work the miracle to have the king listen to Esther when she came to him without permission.  And God did work that miracle!  But Esther had to walk through the stormy sea.

Now, let’s look at the story of Job, which I’m sure most, if not all, of you know.

Job did just about everything he could do, to honor God and please God.  He gave sacrifices to God all the time, and loved his wife and kids.  He lived a good life for God.  But in the midst of all he did, he was the object of a conversation going on in Heaven between God and satan.  And he had no say in how this conversation came out!  Job couldn’t defend himself.  He couldn’t wave God down and say, “Um, excuse me, Lord, but I really don’t want to be the topic of discussion here.  So please go pick someone else.”   Job just had to take what came to him, and deal with it as best he could.

8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”  (Job, Chapter 1)

Job loses all of his flocks, all of his servants, and all of his children.  But he chooses to worship God just as he always has.  Then the conversation continues:

3Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

4“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”  (Job, Chapter 2)

I have to admit, I’m not sure I could praise God through all of that.  Could you?

Job was not spared.  Job had to walked through his sea.  It wasn’t easy; it was nigh to impossible.  As a matter of fact, he was in such bad shape, when his friends came to visit, they started crying when they saw him from a distance.  And none of them said anything for seven days, because they could tell he was in bad, bad shape.  Readers, I have to tell you, I’m not sure I could handle that.  I think I would fail the test.

Job was part of a much bigger situation, and things were happening to him that he had no control over.  This didn’t happen to him because he deserved it.  It didn’t happen to him because he was irresponsible and just walked into this danger.  He wasn’t the cause of this; it happened to him!  And he had to walk through this sea of destruction and despair, all the way to the end.

Readers, sometimes things happen to us because we’re part of a bigger picture, and we’re the recipient of others’ decisions.  Does this mean that God does not love us?  When a wild person goes into a store and begins shooting people, does that mean God was caught off guard?  Does that mean that He didn’t love the people in the store?  Does it mean that God planned it that way?  Heaven forbid we should think such things.

Readers, there is evil in the world.  Stuff happens.  Sometimes, because of things outside of your control, the sea doesn’t part.  What then?

Take.  His.  Hand.

Take God’s Hand!  Because if He’s asking you to walk through a sea that apparently isn’t going to part, then He’s going to lead you through that sea.  So Take His Hand.  Put your hand in the Mighty, Righteous Right Hand of God, and take a step.  In FAITH, not fear!  Because if God has allowed you to be confronted with a sea that is rough and choppy, and waves are slapping you in the face, He has not planned for you to fight through this on your own.

If your sea isn’t parting, God is still in control of the bigger picture that includes that particular sea.  I can’t explain to you all the reasons God allows seas to come up that apparently won’t part.  There are as many of those seas, as there are people in the world, because the devil is out to kill you.  Pure and simple.  He will use anything and everything he can to get you to walk away from God, to do as Job’s wife wanted him to do:  “curse God, and die!”  Readers, you don’t want to do that!  You want to take God’s hand and you want to step out in faith, knowing that every step of faith will get you closer to the other side of that sea.  And by “other side” I don’t mean Heaven, I mean success and victory.

Okay, the month of Thirty-One Days is over, and it’s been a great month.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

And now?  It’s NaNo Time!  🙂  I’ll see you after 50,000+ words!

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