Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
Speaking on this verse, Sarah began her sermon by telling us that the Disciples couldn’t make sense of the things Jesus was telling them about His death and resurrection. This verse is Jesus’ response to this, where he tells them that they will understand, but only in the fullness of time.
Sometimes we don’t understand why God puts us into certain circumstances. We are unable to see the full picture, and we don’t know how things will turn out, but it is in these circumstances that we must live by faith, trusting in God, that His hand is on us in these situations, and that while we may not understand what He is doing in that moment, later on, we will.
Referring to the Royal Wedding, and in particular, the Sermon by Bishop Michael Curry, Sarah used this to illustrate her point. Meghan Markle was mixed race, and struggled with this throughout her childhood, being in a world which required race categorisation, and being unable to fit into either the black, or white mould, but what we saw yesterday, as a preacher was given the opportunity to speak about God’s love in a situation watched by millions. God took hold of that situation and made it to be a special blessing for both black and white people by enabling this black man to deliver the sermon, explaining God’s love in both a relevant and amusing way, which has ensured that it was truly heard and will be remembered by many.
This is God working into our situations, showing us that no matter how misunderstood and difficult our circumstances might be, He always knows what He is doing. The truth is that we are all ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, and this is true of Meghan Markle. She was meant to be of mixed race, for this exact moment, and though she was not aware of it at the time, God was at work in her situation, just as He is in every situation, even when we don’t necessarily see it, and this situation provided an opportunity for the Gospel to be heard by a huge number of people.
In Philippians, Paul reflected back on what had happened to him in his life, and on the situations that he found himself in, that didn’t make sense to him at the time. Paul and Silas were placed in prison, which is hardly something we could call a pleasant experience, but through this, they walked by faith, trusting in God and glorifying and praising Him, and it culminated in a miracle and multiple salvations, and give him a story to tell of how good God was to him. God uses these trials to take him to a place that he never thought he would be.
When we find ourselves in the midst of these trials, we can find ourselves asking where God is in our situation of shipwreck. We can’t necessarily see Him when we are in the storm, but are called to trust Him that in “all things [he] works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Whatever happens, we must remember that we must keep the joy in the Lord, we must stick together and we will see God at work in these happenings.
The events in Acts 16:16-34 happened because they were doing something good. They helped the slave girl, and because of this they were put into prison, in the innermost chamber, but God took Paul’s deep, dark problem to bring out a glorious outcome. Paul and Silas were undaunted when they were thrown in prison. The truth is that there is no place so dark, that God cannot bring in the light. When our world falls apart, we can feel that we don’t know how we will carry on. We can find ourselves unable to make sense of it, but we need to remember that the peace of God comes into our deep, dark hole. All we must do is to cry out to God, and He will put us into a place where we will not only survive, but thrive, and be able to bring light into other people’s lives.
Trials can seem very difficult when we’re going through them, but placing our trust in God can bring us hope. He will either find us a way out of our problems, or He will bring us through them. We are shown this through a number of different people in scripture. Joseph, for example, was thrown into a pit by his brothers, but God is with him and he ends up in a palace. In Genesis 50, Joseph reflects back on his life, and exposes his heart and we see that he has travelled with God throughout his life, and has both forgiven his brothers and moved on. Often, the things that seem as if they will harm us, are actually things that will bring about great blessings as we move through them. Joseph’s suffering turned out to be for the saving of many souls. Without his suffering this would not have been the case.
The truth is that God can take hold of our lives, our disabilities, and the things we think will be the end of us. His hand is all over it, and it is up to us to trust Him and to live with an attitude of ‘What if these challenges are working for the greater good?’ One challenge after another can be working for the good of God, and we must remember that in all of this, He will bring us through, no matter how bleak the situation. We are living for His glory, and it is in the storms and the shipwrecks, that we must remember this and trust in Him, because His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us.
So today, no matter how dark our situation, or how big the waves crashing against our ship, can we just trust Him? Can we let Him take the wheel and trust that while we may not understand at this moment; that in the fullness of time, we will be able to look back and see exactly why God placed us in, and brought us through that situation.
Scriptures: John 13:7, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:2, Philippians 1:14, Acts 16:16-34, Genesis 50