God's Heart for Us During Trials

10:03 AMHeather

Destruction.  Thinking on this word brings to mind scenes from the last year such as the terrible destruction in Japan and the destructive path of the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri.  Destruction brings to mind debris and ruins and pain and sorrow.  And in my own life, and the lives of those I know and love, destruction has hit at times.  In the form of cancer and death and sickness and heartache, leaving behind a trail of brokenness.  I don't know about you, but in those seasons where my life feels ruined, all I tend to see is the destruction.

Lot was a man who faced similar circumstances.  His hometown was leveled by mass destruction.  Granted, God destroyed Sodom due the wickedness of its inhabitants.  Hear me now--I am not saying that all destruction is God's judgment.  Just needed to clarify that.  But, Lot was a man who lost much.  All he had known and many he surely knew and loved were wiped away.  In the blink of an eye.

Today, I think we can can look to Lot to see two very interesting things that I hope will encourage you as you stand knee deep in the ruins of a trial.  First of all--we are going to look at God's heart for His people during times of destruction.  And, then, we'll see Lot's response to the Lord during such a time as this.

How can God allow destruction is a question for the ages.  On this side of heaven, I don't believe we will ever fully grasp an iota of God's true character and goodness.  But, we can glean from our own journeys of seeking, and we can look to His Word.  As we look at Genesis 19, we see that God's heart for his child, Lot, was to pour out favor.  Yep, favor.  There we see it.  God's favor in the middle of one pretty awful disaster.  This is what I wrote in my prayer journal about this passage:  

"How gracious is God toward His own!  He listens to Abraham's impassioned pleas in Genesis 18, and he spares Lot by sending angels to guide him to safety.  Not only that, when Lot recognizes God's favor, having looked for it, he requests an easier solution than going up to the mountains.  And God listens.  He gives Lot an easier solution and allows him to settle in a nearby town.  You see, God's heart for me is not just favor--even in the midst of a trial--but to pour favor upon favor because He is for me."

Even in the midst of this destruction, God rescued Lot.  He commanded Lot to settle in the mountains.  When Lot asked for an easier way, God answered.  No matter what destruction you are facing, will you LOOK to see where and how God has granted favor--even in the middle of your desert?  We are back to Jeremiah 31:2 here, which I think sums up this point concisely.

This is what the Lord says:
"The people who survive the sword
WILL find favor in the desert;
I will come to give rest to Israel.
Can you hang on to that lifeline--that God's heart for YOU during your trial is to save you from it (and through it), to grant his favor in your desert and to give you rest?

How can you respond to your destruction?  Be like Lot.  Have eyes to see where God has granted you favor--even in the fiery trial.  Ask Him to give you eyes to see His favor.  And, then, I double dog dare you to be like Lot.  As you thank the Lord for his deliverance and His favor, pour out your heart honestly to Him.  If you are wishing for an easier way out--just talk to Him about it.  That doesn't guarantee an easier way, but be like Lot.  Keep talking to God and don't stop.  Pour out your heart boldly.  And don't forget the humility it takes to say, "Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes...here is my heart's desire."  You see, in expressing yourself this way, you are expressing your submission to His authority--even if an easier way isn't granted.  And, honesty is everything in any relationship--much less your relationship with the Lord.  

Glimpse of grace:  My late teens and early twenties could be summarized with the word destruction.  There was a pretty wide path of ruins, to be sure.  So, please hear me when I speak about destruction.  I've learned a thing or two from experience.  You see, we don't have to ask God to be with us during those times because He already is.  But, we can ask for eyes to see His presence.  We can ask for eyes to see His favor.  And, if we can move through the bitterness and anger and press on with Him, we can eventually see His gracious, loving heart for us.  We can see His favor in the desert.  We will stand on the other side of destruction and see that He saved us from the sword.  And, we will find rest in the journey with Him.  Pouring out my heart honestly, boldly, yet humbly is what carried me through, day by day.  To be sure, I asked for an easier way.  I was a lot like Lot in that regard.  Sometimes, I felt the circumstances ease.  Other times, I didn't.  But, the more I could gain the perspective to humbly approach that Throne Room asking for His favor, the more I had eyes to see it.   So, if you are standing in a debris field, surrounded by ruins, let me encourage you with this.  God's favor hasn't left you.  In fact, you will see it in new and different ways on this path you are walking.   That's the glorious truth about God's heart for you...His favor never leaves you.  Destruction might come, but press in to Him.  There you will find rest.

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