This morning I was praying for a friend of mine who is in another country on a two week missions trip, that he wasn’t looking forward to going on. I prayed that the Lord would show him clearly, His desire for my friend, each day…SO THAT, my friend would be filled with the blessings that come from doing God’s will…versus his own will. Said another way, my prayer is that my friend would focus on his situation the way that God wants him to focus on it..
When you see the difficulties in the USA, what’s your focus? How do you look at it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t actively pursue those things that God lays on your heart to do, but is your starting point God? Or is it you and your desire?
The Apostle Paul’s words should challenge our starting point. Paul tells us that:
- What you’re experiencing is God’s will for you, and by the way give thanks regarding it (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul also wants us to…
- Recognize that our light affliction (when compared to the eternal weight of glory) is for but a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). He then helps us see something else, that…
- We can rejoice in our sufferings because they (our sufferings) produce perseverance (Romans 5:3)
Also James challenges us:
- That we are to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials (James 1:2)
- And James promises something to those who love God, when he promises a crown of life to the one who perseveres in these trials (James 1:12)
- And then in James 5:11, he references Job and his endurance
But did you notice? What did James NOT promise? He did not promise a life of ease! Let’s look at Job 2:10, talking to his wife about her focus Job says, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” What did he mean by that? Job went on, “Should we accept only good from God and not bad, or not trouble?” Friends, are we acting like Job’s foolish wife?”
Where’s your starting point? Is your Christianity first? If it is, you can agree with Peter:
- In 1 Peter 1:6, he told us to rejoice, GREATLY, even though we are distressed by various trials!
Why could Peter say that? What was Peter’s focus? His focus was the hope of our salvation, that which is our FUTURE inheritance (Vs 5). Friends, THAT should be our focus too, NOT ALL OF THIS STUFF here on earth!
Peter takes us back to Job, when at the end of that same verse, he says that you are “put to grief,” or “compelled to grief.” In other words, this grief was brought to you and upon you, for a reason! Application to us in the USA? God brought this grief, and there is a purpose for it. If you allow Him, He has designed good to come from your grief, your trials (cf. Romans 8:28).
Consider again Job, what did God say about him? Three times in Job 1 & 2, God calls him the most blameless man on the planet, but in the last 5 chapters of Job, what do we see? We see that God needed to work in the area of self righteousness in Job’s life. For whatever reason, Job was not able to see the sin in his life, WITHOUT going thru some very difficult things in his life. What am I saying? That what God did in Job’s life, was good for Job. Now, hear me, I personally can’t reconcile that in my brain, but I trust that God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts, that God is sovereign and that He is in control, His word is trustworthy, and therefore He is trustworthy. So my choice is to trust Him, BECAUSE He is who He is. What God is doing in the life of our nation, is good for us. The question is, will we submit to God, like Job, or NOT even seek God for fear of what He’ll ask us to give up?
Let me ask it this way, where’s your focus? Is it on what you want to see God do in our nation? Or is it on what God might be doing in you, using the situation in our nation to get your attention?
Isaiah 22:8-13, talking about when the Israelites depended upon their political direction, their weapons, is easily applicable to the USA. Here Isaiah shows that the people who saw the “political-things” that needed to get fixed, did them! And probably did them with excellence! But the second half of verse 11 tells us, they did not depend on the Creator, and they did not “consider” the One who planned it.” Planned what? Planned the problems! In verse 13 we’re told, basically, “Instead, y’all went out and celebrated!” But verse 12 tells us what God wanted. He wanted brokenness. What do you think will happen all over the USA on November 6th? All over the nation, one group will celebrate, the other will worry and God is pleading with us, “I want dependence upon Me, I want brokenness,” and I would add, that comes from personal repentance, NOT politics!
You see, God wants brokenness in our lives and it will not happen if our focus is on our problems “out-yonder.” God is disciplining us, out of love, like a good father disciplines his child, because He sees the problems IN US, in you and me!. Do you know how much God loves you? He loves you so much that He is willing to allow things to get worse (in the USA), until you and I come to Him with brokenness. Until we are willing to do that, we are battling against the clear directive, the clear purpose, of God. We are, as is said in Acts 26:14 (regarding Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus) “kicking against the goads.”
Do you still wonder if all that is happening in the USA is from God? Go back to Job 1 & 2, it reads as if God prodded satan, prompted satan, pushed satan. Look at what satan said to God, in Job 1:10-11, (applying it to the USA). “Have You not made a hedge about the USA, and all that they have? You have blessed the work of their hands, and their possessions have increased in their land. But put forth Your hand God, touch all that they have, and the Christians in the USA will curse You to Your face!”
I believe we have had many examples of, God putting forth His hand, His hand of judgment. 9/11 is only one example. And so what happened after 9/11? We went back to our sinful ways just a few weeks and months later. Look again at Job, this time Job 2:4-5, satan says, (applying it to the USA). “Sure, they worshiped you for awhile, but skin for skin God, You take away those things that are most important to those Americans, including their health, and they will curse you to Your face.”
Tuesday I was driving to Metter GA, and on my way down there I was listening to Ray Boltz’ song, “Watch the Lamb.” When he sang about the men in the crowd yelling “Crucify Him!” I wept because it occurred to me, that when I sin, I too, like the men in the crowd am yelling, “Crucify Him…AGAIN!” I’m embarrassed to tell you that there are a couple of “pet” sins that I am just tired of holding on to. Pray for me, would you, that Tuesday was a new day for me in this area? What about you? Are there areas in your life that God has spoken, and you are ignoring?
There is another passage that brilliantly expounds upon our focus.
Romans 8:6 tells us that if we focus on the things of the flesh, we end up with death (destruction) but if we focus on the things of the Spirit we end up with NOT JUST life, but BOTH life and peace. You will not have peace in your life, focusing on all of this garbage around you! Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t actively pursue those things that God lays on your heart to do. But is your starting point God? Or is it you and your desire to relieve your anxiety?
Remember Philippians 4:6-7? You want your anxiety gone? You want peace? Come to the Lord with prayers, petitions and thanksgivings! Thank Him for what? Thank Him for these problems! Thank Him that these problems have moved YOU, unto righteousness. And then you know what happens? He brings you a peace that completely transcends every single bit of your understanding! He brings you peace in the midst of your trials.
I don’t believe that God is interested in fixing anything in Washington DC, until He fixes you and I.
This is my prayer for you. Do you recognize the verse that it comes from?
If you are a child of the King, I pray that you humble yourself, by getting on your face before God! And pray to the God of Job, of Paul, of James, of Peter. Start seeking His face, not just His hand. Quit praying that he takes away your temporary problems and start asking for the forgiveness of your sins. He will hear your prayer, forgive you of your sins, immediately (cf. 1 John 1:9) I might add, and He will heal where you walk, and where the person next to you walks, and where the person next to him walks, and eventually He will heal our land.
Do you want one more challenge? Take a blank piece of paper and at the top write, “God’s Will For My Life.” Leave it blank! Then at the bottom, sign it. ONLY THEN, should you starting seeking God’s face and let Him fill in the blank page.
Mark S Mirza
- PS. — The title of this post came from a pastor friend, Greg S., who was describing a loving, generous, sincere Christian friend of his. Greg said, “I love him, but he is an American first and a Christian second.”