<<incidents, events>>

We can’t control many of the happenings in our lives, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and self-control we can govern our mental attitude. God chooses what we go through; we choose how we go through these challenges – with a complaining and defeatist attitude that makes us bitter or a thankful attitude whereby our character is enriched. We need the heavenly perspective so that our circumstances, no matter how painful, do not determine our future in a negative way. Do I view adverse circumstances in the light of eternity (1 Pet 1:6,7)?

Circumstances are the conditions that reveal the inner qualities of heart, often bringing our shortcomings to our attention – and before others too! What causes us to react and how do we manifest our displeasure when we are not ministered to? If these responses are not God honouring what steps are we taking to correct them?

In the storms of life remember: God remains the same – He sees, knows and is the same in every circumstance of life. If you recognise God’s dealing with you in His providence (divine foresight and intervention) you won’t become a victim of circumstances. They are not happenings of chance, but of divine design (Ps 37:23; Jer 7:23); His character is trustworthy, so rely on Him (Isa 50:10); We can draw near to Him – He will never leave us to battle alone (Josh 1:9; Heb 13:5; Jas 4:8); the Bible declares “All things work together for our good” so we can “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:28; 1 Thes 5:18); the present circumstance which presses so hard against you is, if you are yielded to Christ the best tool in the Father’s hand to shape you for eternity. Trust Him and try not to resent or push away the instrument lest you lose its vital work. Rather, welcome these opportunities for growth (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4).

Circumstances never change the promises of God, so don’t give up on your dream from God and don’t do anything to jeopardise it. God is the master over our circumstances even if He is not the author of them and has the power to bring us through victorious.

Try to be like Joseph who although he experienced many years of very difficult circumstances, kept his heart right and the word (dream) from God alive. It was some 17 years after the chain of perplexing trials begun by his brothers that events suddenly changed and he could say to them, “You [and

Circumstances will overwhelm us when we take our eyes off Jesus

Satan] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” (Gen 50:20). Jesus would say to us too, “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (Jn 13:7). “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” who looked beyond the pain of the cross to what would result from it (Heb 12:2,3). Look for the blessings and elaborate on what has gone right, rather than focusing on and rehearsing the negative details. See what you can learn in these difficult times of life.

We may think some things are unfair, even asking, “Lord what about him?” His response to us is, that is not your concern – be faithful in the path I have called you to (Jn 21:21,22). Be committed to the will and way of God as He gave His life to redeem us so He can do to us as He pleases (Mt 20:15; Rom 6:11-13, 12:1,2). He suits the refining process to His end design for us and the raw material available!

God refines us through difficult circumstances – stretching us to develop our character. Paul said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed…” (2 Cor 4:8). God in His sovereignty could prevent the seeming ‘bad’ happening in our lives but in His wisdom and providence allows these events so that through them we have the opportunity to become

We want changed circumstances. God desires changed people

like His Son and display the fruit of the Spirit (Rom 8:29; Gal 5:22,23). God has greater plans for us than merely sheltering us from pain. He wants to make us better servants by bringing us through circumstances, not helping us escape them.

Experiences make us stronger and wiser. Adverse circumstances provide opportunities to develop problem-solving skills to bring about desirable solutions. In major projects plan for possible scenarios, having a backup strategy or ‘plan B’ when things don’t go according to plan. This will help you not to be thrown by the adverse circumstances that come.

Don’t have a ‘victim of circumstance’ mentality – seldom do life’s events materialise as anticipated. Our attitude determines whether we benefit and grow through life’s circumstances or they are detrimental and destructive. Refuse to be so wrapped up in your own situation that you can’t reach out to others.  It was when Job, who has severe personal trials, ministered to his friends that his own situation turned around (Job 42:10). Maintain a positive mental attitude by accepting and adapting to the ever-changing unpredictability of life. We discover ‘who we are’ and what we are capable of as we face the unplanned incidents that come our way. View them as challenges to overcome, knowing we are the result of past decisions. They are opportunities for growth and learning.

 Greater is the person who rules his spirit than the one who conquerors a city (Prov 16:32). Our reaction and inner character quality is of greater worth than outer conquests. The Bible’s message is to commit our way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will bring us through as we rely on Him (Ps 37:5; Prov 3:5,6, 16:3).

The present circumstance is divinely arranged; make good use of it so it will bear fruit for eternity. If you are yielded to Christ, the present circumstance you find yourself in is the best tool to shape you for eternity. It is character building if you resist the pull of the flesh, but character destroying if you give into the temptation. What is our reaction to the trying

He allows circumstances for our good

events of life? The distressing situation will pass, but our response to it results in a permanent moral and spiritual deposit in our character.

See also: attitude, challenge, chance, character, not being ministered to, positive mental attitude, providence, reaction, situation, sovereignty of God, test/testing, trials, victim mentality, why.