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When things go wrong
- Jacob Ninan
Things go wrong all around us all the time, and that is just the way this world is. But when things keep going wrong or go seriously wrong for Christians, usually one of two things happens. People come to us and practically accuse us of some hidden sin in our life, lack of faith, etc. Or we look to natural solutions ignoring any spiritual context. We get so used to such accusations that we immunise ourselves against them by ignoring them. This is good and necessary most of the time. But there may be times when we need to go before God and see if He is trying to get our attention.
It would be wrong and foolish to get into discouragement or condemnation and assume that God must be getting at us because of something we have done. That is what Satan would like us to do. We must stand firm on the foundation that God, our Father, has accepted us once for all. He has not only forgiven us all our sins, but He has also promised not to bring them up against us (He.8:12), condemn us (Ro.8:1) or accuse us (Ro.8:33,34). But since He loves us so much that He wants us to become like Him, He will discipline us now and then if we need it (He.12:10). That is something we need to take note of, and not confuse it with accusations from Satan or people.
God disciplines us only rarely, when normal warnings through His word and the Spirit do not reach us. He tries first of all to get our attention by letting something go wrong, and if we continue to be foolish and neglect His correction, He may let things continue to go wrong. This may take various forms, such as unusual sickness, people or things that keep troubling us, etc. Without letting it take us to confusion or discouragement we can ask God if He is trying to say something to us. If He tells us something, we can take action. If He does not, we must give up this line of thought and go on to facing things in a natural way.
Jesus spoke about what happens if we will not forgive others in our heart even though He has forgiven us much. Using the parable of a servant who did not forgive his fellow servant, Jesus said that just as his master the king sent torturers to him till he repaid his debt, the Heavenly Father would do the same with us if we would not forgive others (Mt.18:34,35). What are torturers in our context but things that keep on troubling us without let up? We must also remember that even though this parable addressed the matter of not forgiving others it could be indicative of what God will do for other serious sins too.
The important thing is to be honest enough to face up to the possibility that God may be trying to say something to us, and also to be bold enough to rest in His love even when He chastens us. God warns us not to take His discipline lightly nor to allow it to condemn us (He.12:5,6). We must also be able to leave this possibility aside once we have placed the matter before God and He has not indicated anything in this direction.
Another rare possibility to consider is whether we are facing an attack from Satan.
Our foundation must be God's love for us.