There's a little catch phrase that has been increasingly heard in Christian circles in the past few years-"it's a God-thing". I've never used it that I can recall. For some reason, it doesn't sit quite right with me. Not that I'm offended when I hear it. But as I've thought about the popularity and growing use of this phrase, I've made an interesting observation. I've never heard it used in the context of trial or hardship. It always seems to be said when something extraordinarily good happens, or when good fortune comes along. People whose circumstances seem to come together or work out unexpectedly or coincidentally to their benefit like to say, "it was a God-thing!"
But we know that God works just as much in our suffering...in our bad days, when things don't work out like we wish. Our best growing happens through trial. We learn to depend on Him more when we realize how limited we are in our own strength. So I'm thinking, why don't we ever say, "it's a God-thing" when we've had patience to deal one more day with that intolerable co-worker? Or when a family member is dying and it doesn't seem fair but we have faith in the sovereignty of God anyway? Or when we've lost a job and don't know how our family will survive? Or a friend has betrayed us and we're hurt and confused? Is that a God-thing? Can we separate Him from the uglier days, when things happen that we would never choose? Are we to keep Him compartmentalized over here with the happy moments, the promotions, the "miracles", the joyful chance encounters? Isn't He also in the difficult circumstances? I know He wants to be. That's where He shapes us, if we let Him. That's where He develops perseverance in us. But He can only do His work if we're looking for Him there - in that hardship, that trial that we'd never choose, but that He allows for a reason. Sometimes we learn the reason, and sometimes only He knows. Either way, it's all good, if He's in control.
So...you ran into Cousin Sally in July in terminal C at the Atlanta airport. The same exact terminal in the same airport you saw her in 3 years ago in July! It's a God-thing! Okay. But how about this: you've just gotten a diagnosis, and it's not good. You know you have a long road of suffering ahead. You cry out to God in anguish, not understanding why. But you lean into Him, and you accept the love and support of others, and you ask for more faith. And you find ways to be grateful. Grateful. How is that possible?
Well, it's a God-thing.