Something occurred to me the other day while at the lake—I was all alone. There was no other boat to be seen—I had the lake to myself. It’s a rare moment to be the only boater on the lake, but when the wind is howling and the lake is churning foam and white capped waves most people have enough sense to stay on land.
My experience on the lake reminds me of how I’ve felt when I struggled through some trial—all alone. I didn’t understand what was happening or why it was happening and I wondered: “God where are you?”
This brings to mind two godly men—Joseph and Paul. Both of these men probably had moments when they wondered about their circumstances. Joseph languished in prison because Pharaoh’s cupbearer forgot him and the promise he had made (Genesis 40:14, 23; 41:1). Paul spent two years in prison because he had rankled Felix.
Both Pharaoh and Felix thought they were having their way with these bothersome individuals, but they weren’t. They were being used an instruments in the plan of God: “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord (Proverbs 21:30).
God uses moments like these to develop you, to build your character, and to mold you into His image and likeness.
When I was about 8 years old, a 10 year old boy had me pinned to the ground as he punched me. I felt a sense of relief when my dad appeared out of nowhere. I said: “Dad, get him off of me.” Dad surprised me when he said: “Son, if you’re going to fight, you’d better learn how to win.” Those were not the words I expected to hear, and I was even more surprised when the toes of his work boots turned into heels as he turned around and walked away.
Like bragging Peter, I think God will let us struggle at times for the purpose of strengthening us. In hindsight, I now know that is what Dad was doing for me. I also know that the times I have felt all alone, God was still at my side, by my side, and on my side; and, I’ve learned that “I can all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).”