Growing up, I remember a close friend Cindy talking about how she always thought God was punishing her. Everything seemed to go bad. She was a believer in Jesus, but nothing seemed to work right. She couldn’t figure out why.
So many people I know and care about ask God, “Why are you doing this to me?” when things go bad. I didn’t ask that when Samuel was in the hospital because I understood this principle and I knew it wasn’t the right question to be asking. But there are plenty of times in my own life I asked this.
When my oldest son was born, his mother decided she didn’t want to be with me. I spent a lot of time wondering, “God, why are you doing this to me?” and “God, why didn’t you stop me?” I was so distraught, because I knew the hardships this would cause.
Fast forward 4 years later to when Samuel was born and we found out he had to undergo emergency surgery. The biggest weapon I had in my arsenal was an understanding of what God wanted, and that HE was on my side. Were it not for that our battle would have been incredibly different.
Knowing where God stands in the midst of any struggle is one of the first and most fundamental principles of spiritual warfare. How are you supposed to fight God himself? Understanding what God wants in the middle of your struggle is principle 0 of spiritual warfare.
Key point – God is for you.
If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31b ESV
When you are going through a struggle, whether it be a medical emergency, a job situation, or a problem in your relationship – God is for you.
Key point – God wants you to do well
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – 3 John 1:2 ESV
God wants you to do well in life. This passage of the Bible was written by the apostle John. The people he is writing to – he wants them to do well and be in good health. The question is this – do you think God loves you more than John loves you? He doesn’t. God loves you more than John.
9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 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!
This is Jesus, God as a man. Make sure you read what He said – He’s saying. If the best and most loving parents you know give their children what they ask for, then do you think God loves you less? No!
Key point – God is not punishing you
This is one of the hardest points explain. Why? Because there are occasions where God may be disciplining you, and it may even feel like punishment. However, you will know why this is happening, and God’s purpose will be both for your good and for others.
Take for example Jonah getting swallowed by the whale. God specifically told Jonah to go to Ninevah.
Sidebar: Jonah hated the Ninevites. There was a good reason for this – they were brutal towards Israel. But God even loves those who are evil. So God sent Jonah to tell them to quit being evil and to turn to Him. But Jonah didn’t want them to repent. Jonah wanted God to avenge Israel.
When Jonah ran away, God sent a crazy storm. This is an important point – the men on the ship didn’t know why this was happening, but Jonah did. He convinced them to throw him overboard. A fish or a whale swalllowed him. Something to consider – what if the whale, or fish, was actually there to keep Jonah safe?
God was insistent that Jonah needed to be the one to preach to Ninevah. It’s worth asking why, though. Most of the time, we see God sending someone else, or sometimes no one goes at that time. But God loved Jonah. So why? I would say that Jonah needed to let go of his hatred for Ninevah – because that hatred was actually hurting Jonah.
Jonah was being disciplined to be better.
Take another example from Jesus: The teachers of the law thought that bad things happened because people were being punished. Jesus knows better, and He points out that it didn’t happen because of sin. If you want to dig through, this is in John 9. It’s actually tempting to say that Jesus is saying God causes this person to be blind, but Jesus doesn’t say that either. He’s actually implying that this wasn’t caused by God, but God is going to use this for His glory. This same principle can be reflected in Romans 8:28 and in Job when Satan and God are talking.
Jesus took our punishment.
Key point – Satan is the one who is causing you and your family harm
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 ESV
The thief in this passage is Satan. Jesus is the one speaking. Jesus comes to give us good. Satan is seeking to steal from us, to destroy us and our loves ones, and to kill us. The one who is attacking you is Satan.
Key point – so if God wants good, and Satan is causing bad, how does that work?
This is the main reason I wanted to write this series, and my book “For This Child I Have Prayed: 6 Heart Surgeries, 18 Months”.
The explanation we see in the Bible is this – God gave authority over the earth, and EVERYTHING in it – to Adam. Adam gave that up when he chose to pursue knowledge rather than being obedient to God. At that point, Adam began to be deceived and gave up some of the power and authority that God granted him.
Jesus came to restore that power and authority to us.
So where does that put you? You have authority and power. The question from here is how to wield that power.
What if you are having a hard time believing this? I would highly recommend digging into what God wants for your life. Where do you find that? Why not start with God’s promises. Deuteronomy 28 is a fantastic place to start in what God wants for us in life. The entire book of Psalms. Any time you see God’s blessing, continue to read it, think on it, and confess it out loud. Your words have power.
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Signing off – R.L Shawver
Check out the next post here: Principle 1