21. Circumstances (2)

“Cutting to the Chase” Meditations 21: Circumstances (2)

Gen 12:10  Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.”

Back in Study no.19 we declared, we chose to follow him, we choose to let him lead us where he will, to meet the people we will meet, to encounter the circumstances we will encounter. Yesterday we considered how sometimes Jesus leads us into testing circumstances. Now we consider another source of trying circumstances we are to learn to handle by His grace.

Famines in Scripture are sometimes the disciplinary hand of God (see Deut 28, 2 Sam 21:1, 24:13, 1 Kings 17:1, 2 Kings 8:1) but sometimes, there is no reason given and one must conclude they are simply the fruit of a fallen world where things go wrong.  So Abram experienced a famine (see above), Isaac experienced a famine (Gen 26:1), Joseph prophesied about a coming famine (Gen 41:27), Ruth’s family experienced a famine (Ruth 1:1), and Elisha experienced a famine (2 Kings 4:38, 6:25).

A famine is thus either a specific disciplinary judgment of God or simply an outworking of this fallen world not working properly and in the absence of a specific word from God, one must assume the latter.  So a famine is a set of circumstances that bring a difficult time from lack of food or water.  They are, if you like, the classic example of ‘things going wrong’, circumstances outside our control.

Now, whether these ‘trying’ circumstances come as Jesus leads us specifically into them to teach and train us, or they simply come as part of the effects of a fallen world, our response needs to be the same. Very often in such circumstances, the enemy will lean over our shoulder and whisper negatives about God into your mind, “God can’t love you if He allows this sort of thing to happen to you.” Teenagers think and feel it in the turmoil of changing bodies and emotions, aging people similarly think it as the ravages of old age increase (we have increased the lengths of our lives but often not the physical or mental quality of them).

But ‘trying circumstances’ occur in life frequently. I know one family where one daughter was struggling with her identity, the other daughter struggling with an undiagnosed pain the side that left the hospital scratching their heads, while the father caught Covid!  The burdens of the family fell on the wife and mother. I know of another family where the beautiful Christian wife had a severe heart attack out of the blue, and died within a couple of days, to everyone’s shock. It’s a world that ‘goes wrong’ and when it does we have to grab for the truth and hold firmly to it: God loves me, is here for me, and His grace is sufficient in my weakness (2 Cor 12:9), and we are called to remain faithful throughout (Lk 18:8). With His grace we can. 

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