Just When You Thought Things Were Going Well…

God operates with purpose. There is always a plan behind the madness that is in our lives. Our initial and most important job is to adjust our attitudes to theocentric ways so we can discern and respond appropriately to Him and others.

Rick Thomas
Nov 9, 2017 · 9 min read
  1. John baptized Him.
  2. The dove came down.
  3. The Father broadcast His favor.
  4. He came up from the water.

A Drive On the Wild Side

The text says the Spirit of God drove Jesus into the wilderness where Satan tempted Him for forty days. There were also wild beasts in the mix, along with ministering angels. It’s an unexpected and unfathomable scene.

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of him.

Job 23:13–15

The first time I saw this passage in this way, I was dumbfounded. It made me afraid. What was the point? Jesus seemingly had done everything He needed to do to be prepared to fulfill the will of His Father.

  1. The new convert expects all things to work together for good.
  2. The wife expects her husband to love her well.
  3. The husband expects his wife to respect him.
  4. The children expect their parents to represent Christ honorably.
  5. The healthy person expects a few more years of good living.

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. — Matthew 8:23–24

Just when you thought the sailing would be smooth, the Father throws turbulence your way (Jonah 1:4). While I don’t want to make you suspicious or paranoid every time you hear the wind blowing, I think it would be wise for all of us to grapple well with the mysteries of God (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Many Sides of Love

Have you ever heard the expression, “Just when things were going well, the other shoe fell?” Its meaning conveys the idea of having your life the way you want it, and then suddenly, from out of nowhere, your life goes awry. Like Goldilocks finding the perfect bed, only to awaken and alarmed by a family of bears.

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! — Matthew 7:9–11

The conclusion we should draw from this passage is that if there is trouble in our lives, we should find assurance that the Lord is there and He is writing something good into our stories. It is upon us to trust Him, while responding biblically to the crucible of suffering.

Purposeful God

Personal suffering is one of the most oft-used means the Lord implements to accomplish His useful purposes in our lives. You see one of the most profound illustrations of this in the suffering Savior (Hebrews 4:15).

Blessed By Weakness

The passage in Mark says some angels ministered to Jesus while He was suffering in the desert (Mark 1:13). There is a glorious paradox here: God ministers to those in need — a core tenet of the gospel: God helps the needy.

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17

I think if most of us were honest, we would prefer not to suffer, which means we would be willing to forego a rich experience with the Lord that can only come through disappointment and challenges.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. — Mark 8:34–35

Shalom Acquired

There is a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), but it comes with a condition: You have to die to yourself. Nothing will challenge you more or let you know where you stand with the Lord and others than how you respond to your trials.

  1. How are you responding to your trial?
  2. Is your heart guarded against the traps of grumbling and bitterness?
  3. What has the Lord revealed to you about you?
  4. How do you need to change?

Rick Thomas

Our mission is to help people by providing practical tools and ongoing training for effective living.

Rick Thomas

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Our mission is to help people by providing practical tools and ongoing training for effective living.

Rick Thomas

Our mission is to help people by providing practical tools and ongoing training for effective living.