There are no atheists in foxholes.
Struggles, trials and threats determine the stuff you are made of. Jesus makes this point in Matthew 15:18. Life shows you can’t control your environment; only your reaction to it – for better or worse.
When bad things happen, there are three possible responses or “deals” we make.
1. Turn to God, shake our fists and demand He fix it.
2. Try and negotiate a way out that best suits us.
3. Surrender to His will and wait on Him to reveal His purpose.
The first response, while very human, will leave us worse for wear. We become angry. And anger, like gangrene, will kill us from the inside. We will turn into bitter shells of who we once were – the opposite of what God meant for us.
The second response is also quite understandable. It is a step in the right direction as we are looking to Him for answers. But they are not His answers. We are not looking for His deliverance, but rather results that meet our expectations. Still focused only on our circumstances, we say “Do this for me God and I promise I will…..” We fill in the blank with something we think will be enough to get Him to wave His magic wand and get us out of whatever bad situation we happen to be in. He might come to call that favor in later, but what matters now is getting back into what we think is happiness.
The reality is – we do not serve a Cosmic Bookie. He doesn’t negotiate that way. He isn’t into doing things to make us feel good for the moment. He is interested in the long-term return on investment.
Our deal, as followers of Christ, is the third option. It isn’t based on anything we can, have or would do. Our deal is based upon The Lord Himself – which He announces to Abraham in Genesis 15:1-21. The promises He made then apply today: if we have faith in their fulfillment through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Knowing we get it all, however, doesn’t stop us from asking for deliverance in difficult times. The difference is the heart position. If we are focused only on how His actions will make us feel – our hearts are not in the right place. The deal we made means we often walk a line contrary to what is going on around us.
Our faith in Christ is not based on our feelings at any given moment. Also like Abraham, our faith is always being tested. The constant pressure of everyday life on our physical abilities, relationships and spiritual health mean we are all being stretched. When seasons of trials come about, we get stretched even more, often very painfully.
Trials reveal the glory of what The Lord is turning us into. We should not run from them or try and wish our way out. We find out who we really are and who God really is by surrendering the outcome of any situation to Him. We learn that whatever we lay down, He will pick up. Jesus’ New Deal is to make any situation His followers are in beautiful. That is what He means in John 16:33. He has overcome and that is how He makes us whole.
It is our choice, or deal, is to believe Him.
What kind of deal have you made?