Summary: If you’re going to pass the tests of life and come out on the other side of your trials a better person, look to the God who is always good, and listen to Him.
We all know that duct tape and bailing wire will fix almost anything. Well, not quite.
A man in Alaska less than a month ago (June 8, 2017) attempted to cross a channel near Juneau on a homemade, inflatable raft made with duct tape. He put the raft into the water with a paddle and his dog, but no life jacket.
According to a local news outlet, the weather was calm with only 9 mph winds. Even so, a local Coast Guard crew had to come to the man's rescue when the makeshift boat started to fill with water.
The Coast Guard “deemed the craft unsafe” and “transferred it, the man – and his dog – to [nearby] Douglas Harbor.” (www. ktoo.org/2017/06/08/coast-guard-rescues-man-dog-gastineau-channel-duct-taped-inflatable; www.PreachingToday.com)
A lot of people try to make it through life, trusting their own makeshift schemes, and then they wonder why they can’t stay afloat. There’s got to be a better way than this duct tape approach to life, and there is! If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to James 1, James 1, where the Bible shows us this better way.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV)
Instead of blaming God for your problems (vs.13), the Bible encourages you to praise God for your blessings. If you’re going to pass the tests of life and come out on the other side of your trials a better person, then you need to…
LOOK TO THE UNCHANGING GOD.
Take your eyes off your problems, and focus your attention on the Lord, who is always good.
Fix your eyes on your Heavenly Father, who ALWAYS gives good gifts to His children. God is not like the shadow of a sun dial, which is constantly changing. God is not even like the sun, the moon, or the stars – the lights in the sky – whose positions are constantly changing with regard to the earth. No! God is the unchanging creator of those lights, who can always be counted on to give good gifts to His children even in their pain. That’s the perspective you need to have if you’re going to come out on the other side of your trials a better person.
Dr. Jamie Aten is a cancer survivor and a Christian, who researches how people respond to trauma. Just last August (2016), he wrote an article for The Washington Post, which he titled, “Spiritual Advice for surviving cancer and other disasters.” This is what he had to say:
“Most of us operate from what some researchers refer to as a ‘just’ worldview. We tend to believe that if we are good, good things will happen. It's difficult, then, to make [sense out of life] when bad things happen to us.”
Aten says, “I went to the doctor for tests because of shooting pains in my leg. I never dreamed it was from a mass sitting on a nerve bundle in my pelvis. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around what had happened. Thoughts like, ‘Wasn't I a good person?’ plagued me.”
One of Aten’s colleagues worked with a relief agency to help the survivors of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. One of the men she met had his roof blown away by the gale-strength winds. He surprised the relief team when he told them, “Sometimes you have to lose the roof to see the stars.” He found meaning in his loss.
Aten and his colleagues have interviewed many disaster survivors about their views of God, and they found that there are basically two ways these people view God. There are those who believe God saved them, and there are those who believe God is punishing them.
These are people who went through the same disaster, but they have two very different views of God. Aten found that those who have a negative view of God are “likely to struggle a great deal more.” So he encourages his readers: “Even in the worst moments, look for the stars.” (Dr. Jamie Aten, "Spiritual Advice for surviving cancer and other disasters," The Washington Post, 8-9-16; www.PreachingToday)
Better yet, look beyond the stars to the One who made the stars. Look to the unchanging God, who always gives good gifts to His children.
And look to the unchanging God who gave you a new life when you put your trust in Jesus, His Son
James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (ESV)
Literally, of his own will he gave birth to us, he begat us. He caused us to be born again! Sin gives birth to death verse 15 says. God, on the other hand, gives birth to life, a new life in Christ!