Monday, September 17, 2007

Devotional by Dr. James MacDonald

God is Good Even When Life is Bad

Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, . . . youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food
Daniel 1:3-9

When things are going smoothly in your life, you might not find it hard to believe that God is good. But if life takes a bad turn and something devastating happens, you might ask, “How could a good God allow this?” If you know that kind of pain, then you can empathize with Daniel.

Across the pages of Scripture that detail Daniel’s life from teenager to old man, you can write “sovereignty at work.” God was directing his life whether he saw it at the time or not.
Do you know his story? One bright day in Jerusalem when Daniel was just a teenager, he was captured as a POW and was ripped away from everything warm and familiar. Daniel’s enemies were working a cruel strategy. They singled out the best young people—the All-American teenagers voted MVP and ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ and brought them to their capital city near modern-day Kuwait. Their plan was to brainwash these kids with their culture and make them leaders. Daniel was given a foreign name, Belteshazzar, forced to learn a new language, and was given a new diet.

Had Daniel decided what God was like by looking at his circumstances, he would have become a disillusioned, confused, angry, young man. Kidnapped from his homeland, forced into slavery, most likely castrated to become a eunuch in the palace, Daniel’s eyes were still on God. Don’t gloss over these facts like they’re from some made-for-TV movie—this story is true in every detail. Imagine the suffering connected with his circumstances, yet Daniel went through the fire . . . successfully. This certainly gives us hope that we can make it through our firestorm, too.

No doubt a situation comes to mind right now from either your past or the present. You may wonder how a God of love could have allowed some painful, wrong injustice. Yet I would bet on the fact that you’ve not come full circle yet. There will be a day when you will look back and see how God’s sovereign hand was at work. Truth is, He is in the center of the situation that troubles your heart right now. He’s right in the middle of it. Just because you can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Look for Him, trust Him—He is at work.


Jackie said...

Wow, so true...that is how my life has been. When I look back, I can see God's hand in all that has happened, while it wasn't all easy, He has been there all along and walked with me through the valleys and on the mountaintops. He is so faithful. Thanks for sharing that today- great words!!
Take care!

Tam said...

after reading this i can only sit here and weep...I love my God so very much!

Alissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I am currently in the midst of an event that is causing me great heartache and pain and it is tough for me to see God in the situation. I know He is there but the sadness is so great in my soul. I know that one day I will look back and see God's hand in it. I guess I can say I see it now because devotions and blogs like yours keep appearing in my path. Thank you for sharing!

twinkle said...

That is a lot to chew on! My testimony is that God is Good even through the storms of life. I like to think that these storms are when God trusts us the most. When He allows tough times to come, He has counted us trustworthy and strong enough to come through refined. Isn't that Good? God is Good!