Give Yourself to Others …

Does God manipulate circumstances for the benefit of his believers?

Posted on: 2009/10/01

This is a touchy subject, in my opinion.  I say that because I hear so many believing people saying things that suggest God has changed circumstances around them for their benefit.  Does this ring a bell with you?

Does God control all circumstances?  (not could he control, but does he actually control).

Does nothing happen in the world without God’s authority and approval?

How do I know if God wants me to do this or that?

Does God want me to take the new job?

Does God want me to buy a new car?

Does God want me to buy a new house?  A new suit?  A new blouse?  A new cell phone?

God, please send me a new roommate?  God, please send me the right person to be my wife?  … my husband?

How do we know what God’s will is for our lives?

In 1978, I was living in Houston, Texas, and I was offered a job in Washington, DC.  It was a good job and I ultimately accepted the new position and moved.  However, when the offer was made, I asked for a couple of weeks to consider it.  I was 28, and the question on my mind was:  Does God want me to take this new job?

I pretty much agonized over the decision.  I spoke with people at the church where I worshipped.  I talked with my wife.  I spoke with people in the industry.  But it was not clear to me if God wanted me to take the job.  I was praying every day.  But I wasn’t getting an answer that was clear to me.  And my two weeks was running out.

I wish I could completely recall exactly how I reached my conclusion/decision.  I don’t.  But I do recall my conclusion.

In general terms, God doesn’t care what job I have.  What he cares about is whether I can be God’s man in my job?  And clearly, there are jobs where it would be harder to be God’s man than in other jobs.  But the job is not the issue.  I am.

In my circumstances, no matter what they are or how they change, am I being the person God wants me to be?

I don’t believe God changes the circumstances to benefit me.  He changes me to cope with the circumstances.

God will not cause someone to do something against their own will in order to suit you or me.  He seeks people who want to conform their will to His.

In John 13, towards the end of the chapter, Jesus is talking to the 12 about his impending death and says, “Where I am going you can’t come, but you will follow later.”  Peter responds, “Why can’t I follow you now?  I would lay down my life for you!”

And Jesus asks, “Peter, would you really lay down your life for me?”

In any and every circumstance, that is the question:  Will you really lay down your life for God?

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3 Responses to "Does God manipulate circumstances for the benefit of his believers?"

Can prayer change God’s mind? This is a related question. Otherwise, why pray?

Joe, I’ve posted more recently on prayer. A couple of those posts respond pretty directly to your question. But, my view is simply, that prayer changes us, not God.

Does God manipulate?

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