Sometimes things just don’t go right, no matter what we do. No amount of prayers, personal or corporate, offered to God seem to make any difference. In fact, most often, situations get worse or remain unchanged.
We know God is touched by our pain, even though sometimes it seems He is on vacation, asleep or too busy with more important issues. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). The devil on the other hand starts the trouble and looks for more ways to make it as unbearable as possible. He is determined to destroy us and our relationship with God.
The promises of God are such that one will think life should be smooth sailing for us. But not so! Instead, quite often, we run into unbelievable problems. I believe we run into problems when God removes His hand of protection and provision, making us vulnerable. Why would God do something like that, knowing the devil is out there like a roaring lion, waiting for the opportunity to pounce on us? (see 1 Peter 5:8).
There are at least two reasons:
• One, God is confident we can handle it, and wants to prove to the devil that we will go all the way with Him no matter what. Scary thought indeed! Remember Job? He was content to be a Godly man. He was not out to prove anything to anyone, but God was. God started that whole conversation with the devil about Job’s integrity. Couldn’t He have left it alone? All of a sudden, Job’s world came crushing down, for no apparent reason. To make matters worse, the miserable comforters (ignorant friends) who went to supposedly sympathize with him only judged and criticized him, adding insult to injury.
• Two, it could be, there is sin in the camp! Remember Achan? With God’s help the walls of Jericho had collapsed, meaning a big victory for the Israelites. Ai, being a smaller city than Jericho was going to be undoubtedly a piece of cake for the Israelites to conquer, but to their surprise, they were literally chased out of town in disgrace. Why? Achan had sinned (see Joshua 7). All of a sudden, they no longer had Gods protection. In Isaiah 5, God likened the Israelites to a vineyard He had lovingly cared for, that yielded bad fruit. His response to that situation was, “I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it” (Isaiah 5:5-6 NIV).
I believe the only time the devil can touch us is when God removes His hand of protection. (Giving him permission) If God is out to prove something, we’ll just have to go along with His program, trusting Him to sustain us through the experience. On the other hand, if it’s because of sin in the camp, let’s repent so we can be restored.