Several years ago I began to experience severe stomach nausea. Eating made it worse, not good news for someone who enjoys eating as much as I do.
Our family doctor said nothing was wrong. That was not what I was paying him to say. I felt rotten all day, every day. I wanted one thing: to feel better—yesterday.
My doctor observed that while I wanted an outcome, God was intent on a process. Shift your focus to God’s purpose, he advised.
Along with some pretty-colored sample pills, I took his advice. That was completely unlike my usual response, which is to analyze everything to death. I did not even know what God’s purpose was. But I did stop praying for my stomach and started praying for my heart.
As I did, my stomach healed. Gastronomically, I am now back to my old self, eating like a pig but looking like a fence post. (Be careful. Envy is a sin). In terms of attitude and actions, however, everything is becoming new. I wanted God to change my circumstances. Instead He changed my attitudes.
God uses our circumstances to show us our own need for change. That change starts with prayer. Through prayer God brings our desires in line with His purposes. Often our circumstances will improve, sometimes they do not. But with our surrender the change can continue, and with it freedom and joy.
The process I’m describing can be repeated. How blind we can be to our own sins even after seemingly “learning our lesson.” Yet God graciously shows us our need for more change. “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see,” describes more than our justification. Amazing grace will keep happening in each of us as we refuse to become victims of our circumstances and instead let God turn them for His better purposes.
It’s just what the Great Physician ordered.