5 Ways God Shows Up Unannounced In My Life
We make a point of going to Church every Sunday. We say that we want to follow God’s plan in our lives, but when wake up on Monday and look at our to-do lists, we try to take back control. This happens so automatically that we often don’t even realize it. We cut someone off on our way to work. We are short with people when we are thinking about our meetings for the rest of the day. We don’t take a second to realize everything that has worked together in God’s image to create this day or what he wants our minds to be focused on. We have unconsciously come to accept that inconsistency between our Sunday and Monday selves. We so often put God on the back burner when things pick up, and don’t even realize when God appears in our lives throughout the week, when he shows up to shape us in His image. God doesn’t plan around our schedule and appear in our lives when we have some free time in your schedule to focus on him (because we never do). And focusing only on God during a Sunday morning or during breaks when we are in between tasks completely misses the point of doing our work through Him and relying on Him for strength, clarity and peace when life inevitably happens. So He must come into our life at times when we’re not expecting and often not even looking. Reflecting on the past few months, I found a few times when God has been in my life that I am completely oblivious to.
When we get rejected from the job we applied to, when we lose someone close to us, or when our house gets broken into. When bad things happen to us, we feel that God has let us down or wasn’t there for us. Often, we feel this way because what happened goes against our plan for our lives. But we don’t stop to consider God’s plan. God is there for us especially during these times. He understands it may be hard for us to comprehend how something that devastating could be God’s work or part of a plan for us. I believe 90% of a situation is determined by how we react to it. God wants this time to be teachable, building our humility, character, and our ability to adapt and develop solutions. It’s written in 2 Timothy 1:12 “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day which has been entrusted in me. “During times of misfortune, God teaches us how to become stronger Christians.
When misfortune hits, the best way we can cope with this is to develop an automatic and involuntary reaction of praying deeply. Praying deeply can help you to understand your relationship with events in your life and what actions you can take. To some people’s shock and horror, the appropriate response to something in your life may not always be an action, but sometimes merely a reflection and reframing of the mind. Complementary to this, I find that immersing myself in God’s word humbles me to put my problems in the context of God’s master plan. Developing this humility keeps us in sync with God’s time, not our own time. Above all else, God takes us through rough times so that we might have the empathy to care for others. When they are going through rough times, our past misery or suffering allows us to be a light for them in their time of darkness.
Being a Voice
God can use all people, despite their infinite differences, as part of His master plan. Throughout my life, I have never been the first person to speak up in a situation and often enjoy hearing what others have to say before I jump in. People revere outspoken people as leaders and visionaries. However, my social inclinations have been shaped by a rule I will always remember: like a tube of toothpaste, once something comes out of your mouth, you cannot but put it back in. I am afraid to speak words that might hurt or upset someone. Perhaps this makes me too hesitant or cautious, but I think I helps me to make the most of the words I do say. In addition, I am a much stronger listener as a result, which is an invaluable skill to have as a Christian. Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Despite my skill in listening, God calls on me to be more outspoken of my thoughts and strike up more conversations with others. God tells us to love one another and a big part of that is being present in conversation. With each interaction I have, God uses me as a vessel to share His word and love with other people.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Inevitably, everyone disobeys God and sins against their best intentions. Although God does not like our sin, He chooses these times to seek us out and strengthen His relationship with us. This is especially important for me to remember. God hates sin because it separates Him from us. When we sin, we know we have betrayed God and feel more distant in our relationship with Him. There is evil at work trying to separate us from God. Although we feel unworthy of being in God’s presence when we sin, we must know that God is with us at this time. We must repent our sins to prevent them from distancing us from God. God showing up when I have sinned is a sign that He cares about His relationships with us and will keep coming back.
Disagreeing with People
Although it feels that our nation has become more and more devise in recent years, getting stuck in one’s belief and ideologies and feeling anger and resentment towards those who feel differently is probably just a part of growing up. It is funny that when we’re kids we couldn’t care less what other people’s opinions, especially relating to such things as remote as government. Yet, as we get older, it has a way of really firing us up for some reason. It dictates who we spend time with, how we do our work, and how we organize ourselves. Our opinion of someone will even flip negatively if we find out they have different views than us. We must work together to try to set aside differences and make our opinions similar enough so that we are on the same page and can work together. Compromise, not in our beliefs, but in how we work with and serve others, is an important part of being a Christian. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:10 “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgement.” As adults, we move backwards and care more and more about being right and the other person being wrong. But God loves all of his children and commands us to love one other. Jesus always spoke out against those who tried to put others in the crude, inappropriate categories of right and wrong, good and evil. I am typically an agreeable person, but every time I talk with someone who I feel has differing beliefs or is being ignorant, God comes into my life and reminds me to be a good Christian to them. It is our duty to love one another even when we disagree with them.
Of course, God must be showing up in my life if he is working to create good things for me. For Christians that are more aware than me, blessings in their lives may bring them closer to God, as they are reminded of His grace and His goodwill in their lives. In my life however, when I accomplish anything, I began to think of my own talent and hard work, rather than all of the gifts God has given me. I ask God to provide for me in my life and as soon as he answers me, I take it completely for granted and focus on my own gain. When I am blessed by God, I must take time to reflect on His greatness and reflect on how grateful I am for the life He’s given me. In addition to taking God’s blessings for granted, I also fall victim to losing faith in God when he does not answer my specific demands. It says in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” It’s important to remember that God blesses you with what you need, not necessarily with what you want. When we don’t get what we want, we feel that God isn’t listening to us, but we must remember that he has our best interests in mind and gives exactly what we need to shape us in his image and fulfill our part in his plan.
Romans 5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
God not only orchestrates all of these events, but chooses to spend the most time in our lives during these periods. It is during these times that we grow and build perseverance, character, and hope. If we can recognize God’s presence when we are suffering, have sinned, are sharing our voice, are trying to see another person’s point of view, or are receiving blessings, perhaps we will lean into these moments and turn them into instruments for God, rather than trying to eliminate them in our lives. As Pastor Mark shared with us one Sunday, the most uncomfortable path is the path of maximum growth.
Jack Lovern, Storyteller