When God Ordains Hard Things

We know that bad things happen to good people. And good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to bad people. And good things happen to good people. All these happenings are fore-ordained. They’re known ahead of time by God Almighty. He allows all things. All circumstances. All the time.

Matthew 5:45 tells us that our Father in heaven gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. This means that everyone on this earth can plan to have some good days and some bad days. There’s no way around it.

What does it mean that God ordains all things? You ask. What does it mean that he ordains our days?

Ordain: To order or decree by virtue of superior authority. To issue an order. To order or command.

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts of the Apostles 17:24-28

If you’ve read the story of Job, you know that he lived through one very difficult time. According to the Bible, he had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Read Job 1:2-3. The Bible doesn’t say specifically how long his troubles lasted, but in the course of one day he lost everything. Literally. His donkeys and oxen were stolen and some of his farmhands were killed. Only one escaped to tell the story. All of his sheep and shepherds were burned in a fire. Only one shepherd escaped to share the news. All of his camels were stolen by raiders, who killed the servants. Only one servant escaped to give a report. Then a powerful storm blew down the house where his children were partying, where they and all the servants died. Only one servant survived to give an account to their parents.

And just when Job was wallowing in grief, he was hit with boils all over his body. He was miserable. He wanted to die. He asked God why he had even been allowed to be born. And his wife suggested that he curse God and die. But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. Job 2:10


His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him–though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:27


How do parents respond when they lose a young child? Because we know that it’s not in the course of natural events for a parent to outlive their child. The heartbreak and disappointment can be crushing. The grief and pain of loss is devastating.

These past two years have brought many deaths and disabilities from a new virus. The pain and suffering have been immense. No population on the earth has been left untouched. How are we to process this event? What does normal even look like anymore? Can we adjust to a new normal that is full of roadblocks?

There are Christians in other lands who are hunted, imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith. They’re living for God, but they’re in the minority in their land. And those hunting them are determined to rid their world of anything godly.

Consider the police officer who accidentally killed someone when she pulled her gun instead of her taser. And then there’s the cop who killed a child when his bullet ricocheted off a wall. These are hard times for these two individuals and their families. And also for the families who lost loved ones. No one is a winner here. The lives of all of these people are changed forever.

Then there are women and girls being trafficked for sex by ungodly people. They’re sold for their bodies to be used against their will. They have no say in the matter. They can’t escape the abuse on their own. They’re held prisoner by unlawful people.

We may wonder why God allows such evil to happen. After all, he is a loving God. Why do bad things happen? We can question God, but he doesn’t always provide the answers we long to hear. We don’t always learn the reason of the whys that we ask. We may never know.

We’ve been given the ability to choose how we live our lives. We can decide to do good or evil. We can chose to treat others with respect or not. We can choose to hurt others and ourselves. We can choose to deny that God exists. We also can choose to walk in step with Him.

If we choose to walk our own path, then our life will reflect those choices and consequences. And we live that life on our own. We live that life without the comfort or strength that only God can give.

If we choose to walk with God, He walks with us through the valleys and mountaintop experiences. He never leaves us. He will give us strength to face each new day, whether that day brings rejoicing or sorrow. Even when days are hard, and there will be hard days, God is with us.

For some, the suffering and struggles may be lifelong. Even if we are Christ followers, we may live hard lives. We aren’t promised an easy, rose colored life.

Oh. We can grovel and complain and moan and groan. We can question God and curse him. We can cry and destroy ourselves. All in the name of suffering. But suppose we stopped and quieted ourselves. Suppose we listened for the still small voice of God. Suppose we reached out to Him at the darkest moments of our lives. And just suppose He brought peace in the midst of suffering. Because it is possible.

Some of the things that you’ve lost in your life, God is not going to bring them back in the exact same way.

Havilah Cunnington

To experience joy in our struggles and difficulties, we must first acknowledge who God is. Everything but God is secondary in our lives. Everything else is secondary. Yes. That’s right. It’s tough to hear, but God must be the priority. Even during times of intense suffering and grief. If we focus on God, we will see that He is supreme. His love is never ending. His compassion knows no boundaries. His mercy is new every morning. His grace is all sufficient. His power is all encompassing. He is the alpha. The omega. The beginning and the end.

So when the thing we have always feared happens to us, we can have peace and quiet and perfect rest in God our Maker and Redeemer.

Peace in Tough Times

These days are tough times for many people.  Some are afraid to leave their homes.  Others are now homeschooling their kids. People have lost their jobs.  Numbers are going up. Numbers are going down. Patience is running thin. Some are wondering when this craziness will ever end.

Someone in my family was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery is being scheduled. Another family member has family members who were impacted by the explosion in Beirut. They are safe for the moment, but daily provisions are uncertain. Another family member is recovering from major surgery and doing well with her daily physical therapy.  And she’s seven years old.

There are people who are coping with this pandemic crisis by drinking daily. When that wasn’t a normal thing for them. They’re trying to cope with the unexpected changes in life. Because life isn’t going so well this year.

There are businesses that had great plans for the future but now find themselves in bankruptcy.  There are families who find they can no longer meet their monthly payments.  There are people who qualified for unemployment benefits but haven’t received a check. 

Oh. These are troubled times. 

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

Zora Neale Hurston

There is a presidential election in less than three months.  The results could send this country and the world into even more chaos. Regardless of who wins. It’s a wait and see kind of year. Everyone is holding their breath and can’t seem to exhale.


And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15


These are indeed troubled times. 

Sports seasons have been canceled. School semesters have moved online. Church services are streaming live. High school seniors feel their senior year has been stolen from them.

People are searching like they have never searched before. But what are they looking for?

Peace. Freedom. Calm. Structure. Contentment. Understanding. Patience. Relief. Normal.

People want their lives to be normal again. But what does that even look like anymore? Are we looking at a new normal that we just keep fighting?

Have you found what you’re looking for yet? Are you looking in the right place? Do you that know peace can be found?

Did you know that peace is a gift from God? And he is the source of all peace.

What does the peace that comes from Christ even look like? What does that mean?

Imagine if we lived in a world where peace reigned instead of chaos and confusion. Imagine the life we could have. I have to ask myself. Does peace rule every one of my relationships? Do I think peace before striking the first blow of revenge? Or slinging the first word of accusation and judgment? Does the thought of peace guide my conversations and actions? Does peace rule my emotions?

Oh, troubled soul. Peace is a command that God speaks to us. We are called to live in peace with each other. Peace can only be commonplace if it comes from Christ. Nothing else gives lasting peace. Nothing. If we can’t find peace in these troubled days, then we’re looking for peace in all the wrong places.

Because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. Philippians 4:7

Yes. These are troubled times. But peace is possible in the midst of the storm. Spend time with God. Actually, open the Bible and read God’s word. Let it saturate your heart and mind. Trust God. Don’t just say you trust God. Actually let go of your need to control everything and let God do his job. Oh. It isn’t easy. But it is possible. God will give peace in difficult times. He may not do everything the way we want, but His will and ways are perfect. So let’s trust him. And dare to see what happens in our hearts. Even when life isn’t perfect.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Tough Times

Tough times don’t last. But sometimes they do.  What happens then? Are you willing to tough it out? Or will you give up and run in the other direction? But what if God says stay put. You’re right where I want you. You have no reason to run. I’ve allowed for this season to fall on you. And I’ll lift it when the time comes. Until then, trust me.

I mean. Look at Job. His trials lasted for years. And he lost everything. Family. Home. Wealth. He had nothing but his wife and friends who gave him bad advice. Yet his faith in God never wavered. He never turned his back on God. Oh. He questioned why terrible things were happening. And he wondered when they would end. But he kept his eyes on God.

Do you actually trust God? Or do you trust yourself? Are your words always perfectly timed? Are your actions trustworthy? Are your motives pure? You aren’t God. And you know it. So stop acting as if you are.

The God who created the earth in seven days can soothe your aching heart. The God who closed the mouths of the lions can close the mouths of those who speak insults against you. The God who healed the blind man and the lame man can make you whole again. The God who opened barren wombs can heal your broken body. The God who removed the evil spirits from the beggar can heal your anxiety and fears. The God who has taken can also provide.

But what if he doesn’t? What if your enemies continue to speak falsely against you? What if your situation is never made whole? What if your broken body doesn’t mend? What if your anxious thoughts never calm? What if your ship never comes in? What if your tough time becomes a way of life?


The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:1-6


She has an upcoming medical procedure. Uncertainty looms. Outcome to be determined. Fear. Anxiety. What ifs. Unknowns. Life has been good. But now. What if it isn’t? Can her faith hold her through an uncertain future? Will God be enough for her if the diagnosis is disturbing?

Someone else has had a diagnosis. A diagnosis that’s unfamiliar. Yet vaguely relieving. So now she knows what she faces. But others may view her with uncertainty. If they knew. Now she must face a path of healing that will be hard. It will take hard consistent work to regain what was lost. Can she walk that path and do the work necessary to find freedom and wholeness? Can she trust God when at times it has felt that he was far away?

Is God enough if he is all you have? When life throws a curve ball. When authorities make decisions that change the course of your life. When there’s no turning back. Is God enough for you?

God isn’t an emergency room to visit only during a crisis. God is an everyday celebration. A giver of life and a taker of it. He rules the universe. We live at his command. Only thing is. Some people don’t bow down to him. They run or stumble through life on their own power, just to find at the end, they’re lost. They’ve lived lost and it’s too late to be found. It’s only too late once the last breath has been taken. And then eternity has begun and there’s no going back. No. Going. Back.

God is enough. Even during the tough times. Even when all hope seems lost. Even when life has permanently changed. When there’s no going back. When future plans are forever altered. God’s love is still true. God’s plan is still perfect. He will see you through.