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Every week, pastors and ministers deal with life and death situations. We have to constantly remind ourselves we are in the land of the dying on our way to the land of the living. This world is not our home. Through the years, I’ve had to remind people of that as they face crisis situations that threaten to shatter their faith or cause them to question the love of God. We have to remember that everything is not always as it seems. There is an unseen world and often the unseen hand of God in all that we encounter.

The Bible tells us that all things work together for good, but we often forget that the verse says “to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” It’s a promise for the cooperative Christian not for just anyone who wants to randomly claim it. As Vance Havner wrote, “…all things work together for good – those are the pieces – to those called according to God’s purpose – that is the picture. Whether or not we let God assemble the pieces determines whether it shall be a picture or only a puzzle.”

We should be very careful that we don’t try to grab a situation out of the hands of God and try to make it work according to our purposes. God knows what the finished picture looks like and He has a pattern that will bring Him the most glory. Life can seem unfair. Just today I got a message from the wife of a long-time friend that he only has days to live. He’s struggled with cancer for a number of years. While I would think, he’s got so much more he could do for the kingdom, I don’t assume to know what God’s plan is for this particular friend.

Sometimes, when faced with bad news, prodigal children, fractured marriages, disease and sickness, or even death, we can be perplexed and our faith can waver. Not long ago, I bought a 1,500 piece puzzle to put together. When I bought it, I didn’t think of just how many dark black and dark brown pieces there were. It’s been almost impossible to finish because these very dark pieces begin to run together and lead to frustration when we can’t make all the pieces fit.

The same is true in life. We can’t imagine how the dark days can be used by God. We want to think positively and breeze through the difficulties. Jesus said, “If you follow me, you’re going to have trouble.” Yes, the world has trouble too. But they don’t have what we have – the inner strength of the Spirit and the peace of God in those troubled times.

All the pieces of life will one day come together, and we will see what God had in mind in the light of His glory and grace. At the same time, let’s not blame Satan for things that are the result of either our prayerlessness or our own sin. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was because of Satan, but sometimes our sadness, sorrow, and suffering are the result of our choices or discipline for our disobedience.

Some of the pieces of life’s puzzle aren’t good, but they can be used by God to work for His glory and our good. We should trust the Master planner because He is a good Father. As you look at those situations you can’t explain, just gather the pieces of your broken heart and lay them at His feet. Ask God to help you cooperate with His purposes. Don’t get frustrated with the pieces, but rather see the picture He is making with your life.

As the old hymn says, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase…” He’s got this…He’s got you!

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