They lost their earthly Father unexpectedly only three days prior. I shared how God had prepared each step of Jonah’s journey. God prepared the storm, the fish, the plant for shade and the strong, hot wind that brought pain. God had thrown Jonah a few curveballs.
Often you hear the expression that “Life throws you a curve ball”. But truth be told, “life” isn’t in control, God is. In some instances God is standing on the mound throwing the pitch. In others, He is the catcher calling the pitch. But no matter His role: direct or permissive, both are His will.
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It’s easy to accept God’s will when we get good news like:
- A pay raise or promotion
- A remission of cancer
- A friend who sticks with you during a tough time in your life
But no one wants to talk about the hard things God brings into our lives. Yet He did send His only Son to die a painful criminal’s death when He never did anything wrong. He did allow Job to lose all of his material wealth, and every one of his children in the same day. Can you imagine having that curveball thrown at you? Probably not, but you may have experienced some of the following:
- The unexpected death of a loved one
- The loss of a job
- The fatal diagnosis
All three hit our church body recently. I can’t tell you why God allows the curveballs, but I can tell you that they are no surprise to Him.
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Curveballs don’t make God swing and miss. God isn’t sitting in heaven on His throne saying, “Well, isn’t that a bummer, what should I do know?”
- God knew that His Son would die.
- God knew that Job would lose everything.
- God knew that those two children would not see their father alive on earth again.
The hard stuff doesn’t make God unloving or uncaring, it makes Him God. He knows, but He grieves along with us. Remember that Jesus wept with those who wept over the death of Lazarus. (John 11:35)
Okay, He’s God, we’re not. Maybe it’s easier for Him to cope with the Hard things in our lives. But He does not leave us comfortless and He does not allow the curveballs to throw us off our game, or make us give up.
God has many reasons for allowing the curveballs and I don’t have all the answers that He does, but from my own experiences with curveballs, I can give you some tips to help you when they come your way.
Here are three ways to deal with the curveballs God sends into your life:
1. Praise First
It may seem counter-intuitive. You may be tempted to complain. Job praised God when he lost everything. He said,
“Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
Job grieved and then He praised God. Job knew that everything and everyone in his life was only on loan from God. It didn’t belong to him,he was just a steward of it. By praising God first, you invoke the very powers of heaven to come to your aid.
By praising God in everything, you recognize that He is still on His throne and in control. Praise Him, not because you feel like it, but because He is worthy of our praise and it’s His will that we give thanks in everything, even if we don’t like what is happening to us. It isn’t a suggestion, it’s a command.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
Easier said than done? Try it, it worked for Job.
2. Keep the Anchor Rope Tight
When you take a boat out on the water and drop the anchor, you pull the anchor rope tight to keep the boat from drifting. The same is true when the curveballs come our way. The closer we stay to God, the more grounded we will be. Trials have a way of bringing us to our knees and either turning towards or away from God.
Those kids who lost their father had a choice on Sunday morning, they could stay home and be mad at God and turn and run away, or they could draw close to their anchor. They chose to tighten the rope. God is the anchor for your soul in the storms of life.
3. Trust His Heart
You may not understand God’s ways, but you can trust His heart. God is not out to destroy you or punish you, God is looking to draw you (and others) to Himself. Sometimes that means allowing wonderful things into our lives, and sometimes that means allowing horrible things into our lives.
God allowing bad things into your life are not an indication of His love for you.
You can trust God’s heart, always. God does not have ill -ill or malice towards any of His children, only undying love and faithfulness. Abounding grace and mercy.
In those darkest times, when the curveball is flying fast towards you, whisper the words, “I trust You, God.” Trust and belief in God’s goodness brings strength and calm to your heart when you don’t understand what God is doing.
What curveball has God thrown your way?
Are you praising Him?
Are you staying close to Him?
Are you trusting His heart?
What other tips do you have for someone who is facing the unexpected?