Follow Us

Seeing our circumstances thru God’s eyes

I was looking at a blog I’d written from a couple of years ago and saw the prayer request of a friend. So I emailed and asked him, “How did this turn out – did God answer your prayer?”   He replied that although God had, they’d been through a series of job changes that had left he and his …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I was looking at a blog I’d written from a couple of years ago and saw the prayer request of a friend. So I emailed and asked him, “How did this turn out – did God answer your prayer?”
He replied that although God had, they’d been through a series of job changes that had left he and his wife wounded. I reflected on that and wrote him the following.

You know it took me a while to get over my feelings of being fired from a ministry 21 years ago. Then I felt the Lord asking, “Would you want to still be there?” Of course my answer was “no.” And he showed me, “That was your internship. You were there to be prepared for your next stage and assignment.”

When I saw it through the lens of rejection, I was aggrieved and wounded. When I saw it from God’s perspective – it was a training ground; I stopped taking it personally and was able to see that God had used the brokenness of others to complete the job of training that I needed.

Almost all of us in the working world have had a few upsets – people who didn’t understand us or who treated us poorly. Have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps that phase of your life that felt so hurtful was actually God preparing you for the next phase of life?
Consider the possibility that you may have been looking at your circumstances like a near-sighted person. Step back a few paces and you may be able to better perceive the way God used difficult circumstances to answer your prayers.

When I look at the big picture of my life, I see God’s hands on me all along the way – I see him using obtuse people and the pain they caused to shape my character.
If you think about, nothing has happened to you that hasn’t first pass through his hands. Seeing that should help us respond to even the toughest of tests with gratitude.

Comments (9)

  • Seth,

    I appreciate the counsel you conveyed to your friend. I concur whole-heartedly. I too was dismissed from a ministry position I held for 12 years. In that time I served as youth pastor, worship pastor, and then youth pastor again. I fancied myself an “armor bearer” and, in many ways functioned as an associate pastor,as well. My wife, children, and I grew angry and then bitter and then critical during this difficult time. Several times we prayed, “LORD, release us so we can go somewhere else.” The LORD’s response was a resounding, “NO! be faithful to Me…I have a purpose.” Four more years my family and I continued to attend, and mend, and heal, and forgive… In hindsight, my wife and I both know that, in our case, healing could have taken place no where else and in no other way. Ultimately, the whole scenario was a wake up call for me as God revealed to me how full of pride and arrogant I had become. The four years after my dismissal was a wilderness journey and a time of pruning and purging…and it continues today. The process has taught me some things. One thing is that what the devil uses for my detriment, God uses for my development. Another is that faith in God knows that He is doing SOMETHING even without knowing what that something is. Before I was conceived, God had a plan for my life…His mind was made up about me. And nothing, not even my own pride or ignorance can change Father’s mind about me. God is the ultimate “behind the scenes organizer and orchestrator” and He tirelessly works all things together for our good and for His glory. Father God uses life to realign the saints and get them back on track. It’s all according to whether or not we will deny and submit. Obedience is the key. I have learned (and continue to learn) many other lessons. These are the ones that pop to the forefront at the moment. Perhaps this will be helpful to others.

    Peace and blessings…


  • I continue to marvel at how God works through us, and yes, Joe, takes those detriments and uses them for our development. I have slogged through more circumstances than I care to recount in this past year, but my slogging can still become skipping as I view things through the lens of His purposes.

    I tend to be reactionary, a by product, I like to think, of being passionate. But in the process I hurt people, and I grieve that that may be what happened yesterday. I have come across as sharp with sarcasm that borders on being caustic in the past; in fact I needed to rewrite an entire book manuscript because my tone needed to be softened…but to view this as pruning, painful as it may be, is more life giving than viewing it as rejection.

    Humility then as we are convicted will lead to repentence, asking forgiveness, and preparing for the next leg of the journey, which Thank God, we are not on alone.

    Thanks for sharing this Seth, I suspect there will be many who believe it was just for them.

  • Sometimes you have to look deeper into your circumstances too. One morning I woke up to find two inches of water in my kitchen. It seems that when the house was built a nail had been shot through a water pipe. After 14 years of corroding in there it gave way and the water, which always finds the lowest place, was flowing through my favorite world.

    When I heard what the repairman said my very first thought was from the Lord, “What is rotting away in you, Mary?” I find that circumstances no matter how mundane can be tools to bring us to deeper levels of relationships, both with others and with the Father.

    Sometimes you have to be willing to look into those circumstances and see that although God didn’t set me up to fail, to be wounded, to be standing in two inches of water, that He will non-the-less use them – if I am willing – to bring about His constant goal of making me into His image.

  • Our mens group has been working through Fathered By God (by John Eldredge), last night we were on the stage of the King, and as John puts, “The goal of the masculine journey, the maturity for which God has been fathering the man
    since his first breath—is to be a King.” In other words all the trials and challenges of life are God’s way of building(fathering) the kind of character he desires in us for when we’ll one day have a kingdom in this world and eventually when we rule with Him for eternity. If only we can hold on to that perspective through the daily grind. 🙂

  • I too needed to hear this.
    “Nothing has happened to you that hasn’t first pass through his hands”. Remembering this line is what I need to do. Whether it be periods of hurt, learning, difficulties, or waiting (where I feel I find myself now), He knows it all and uses it all for His greater good. The things I am least willing to learn and be content in now, are those that will probably be the most used lessons later.

  • This concept seems so simple and easy to understand when read. I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot of my lessons by men who care about me and believe in me. When I encounter the alternative it does at first glance appear cruel, dark and vague. It’s encouraging to know that looking back this type season was really training ground. And now the appropriate response is radical trust.

  • “Nothing has happened to you that hasn’t first passed through his hands”. I’m trying to cling to this truth from Job’s experience but sometimes I feel like it’s a perspective only viewable in hindsight or at least from someone with a lot more faith than I have right now. I’m having a hard time reconciling the fact that God is Sovereign yet there is a lion seeking to steal, kill and destroy…and too many times he is successful.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap