Am I Doing Something Wrong?
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. —Ezra 4:4-6
I have some questions. They have to do with righteous living, obedience to God, faithfulness to His will—and how even when we’re doing the right things, life can still be quite hard.
There are too many people (believers among them) who have fallen into the trap of believing that prosperity and blessing equal God’s favor. In other words, when it’s all going your way, God obviously likes what you’re up to and has rewarded you with good things. And when life is hard, God obviously doesn’t like what you’re up to and is punishing you with bad things. That thinking is pretty common. Often it is unstated and more often than not vehemently denied, yet practically speaking, it seems we believe it is true. Our culture is no help. Life is measured by how much you have. Your bank account, your educational achievement, your address, and the number of Facebook friends you have become the measure of whether or not you’ve got it going on.
We really struggle with the notion that the hardship may in fact be God’s favor in a person’s life. Weird to say, but it is the first thing I’ve written here that can be found in the Bible.
Ezra 4 helps us answer the question, “If I’m doing exactly what God told me to do, how is it that things can still go so wrong?” Ezra 4 recounts for us the frustration the Jews were experiencing when their vision to re-establish worship was stopped in its tracks by the lies, threats, and political maneuvering of some adversaries.
Though the purposes of the Jews were frustrated, God’s purposes were not. In the midst of the failure, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2). And what are His purposes for me? Answer: to set me apart from the world, to have me know His power, to have me man-up and trust Him, and to have me know that His ways are far greater than my ways.
And if those are the purposes, they can be accomplished whether I’m experiencing good times or bad. So in fact, life may be really hard for you right now, and yet you may be doing everything right. God is simply doing what He needs to do to accomplish His purposes. —Todd Dugard
· How am I doing with the concept that hardship may really be “favor?”
· What exactly is the Lord doing in my life through the hardships He has allowed?
Prayer: Almighty Father, I want to love You with a complete dedication and devotion. I don’t want my circumstances to get in the way of what You are trying to accomplish in my life. I want them to draw me nearer to You. Forgive my lack of trust in Your ways. Strengthen me this day to accomplish all I need for Your glory alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.