How Does God Expect Us To Stay Focused On Him In A World Full Of Negative?
by Pastor John Roselle | March 24
Preface: For all those joining in outside of TSM, this blog is adapted from our current Wednesday night series called Life's Difficult Questions, where I encourage our students to anonymously submit questions they are struggling with. With this switch to online, I am having our students read this and then join in on an Instagram live stream to discuss. Students, I will see you all on Instagram Wednesday night at 8 pm. Everyone else, I hope this blog is an encouragement to you...
Man, you all are swinging for the fences with this one! Someone out there is trying to stress me out with a tough and difficult question! But, I love the challenge. I completely get it, too. This world is a nuts and crazy place. Everywhere you turn, there is some controversy or global epidemic filling our minds, not to mention the fact that it seems like World War III is seemingly always just around the corner. And these are just the global scale negatives. What about the illness our family member is suffering with, or the lost person in our life who just doesn’t understand our faith. How in the world, amongst all this negative, are we supposed to stay focused on God? Thankfully, God has given us ways to combat our ADD and lack of focus on Him when these negatives pop up. We have a God so positive that He overcomes any negatives in this world. We just need to know how to access these positives when the negatives seem overwhelming. So, let’s look at how to focus on God, when there is so much negative in this world.
Pause And Take A Step Back
Read Psalm 46:10, Psalm 23:1-3, and 1 Kings 19:11-13.
Did you pick up on the theme of these verses? Stillness. See, when negatives pop up in this world, so often our response is to rambunctiously clamber to piece together enough positive to counteract the perceived negative. It is in this chaotic scramble where we lose focus on God or even start to doubt His presence all together. But, God’s desired reaction to negatives is the exact opposite of what our natural reaction would be. God wants us to be still and immediately focus on Him and His guidance when something negative occurs. God knows the effects that the struggles of this world can have on us. He sees the earthquakes, fires, floods, and thunderstorms that draw our attention from His quiet leading, yet patiently waits for us to focus on Him and not the storm. Stillness needs to be our first response to anything negative that causes us to stumble. When we remain quite long enough to set our focus on God and not the negative, we open the door for God to be our shepherd and guide us to the waters that will restore our soul. Stillness allows God to work positives into the negative.
What are some ways we can remain still in life’s storms?
When We Do, We Begin To See The Blessings
Read Psalm 66:10-12, James 1:2-3, Romans 5:3-4 and Romans 8:28.
What do these verses reveal about the workings of God through the negatives of this world? When we remain still long enough to understand what God is doing in any bad, we start to pick upon the positives that God is doing in the midst of the storm. We learned last week that God is a supreme God, capable of accomplishing anything in this world, but we also learned that man tries to usurp God and take His place. We try so hard to step in and fix the wrong. Develop the positive for ourselves. That is impossible to do on our own. When we try to do this ourselves, we begin to lose track of God or even doubt Him as we fail in our struggles or see the negatives persist. The next step as we develop a focus on God in the negatives is to, while we are remaining still, acknowledge the positives that God is doing in our lives despite the negatives. Just look at these passages, God consistently reaffirms to us that in any negative out there, whether directly or indirectly against us, He is using it for the betterment of ourselves. It’s pretty much the Kelly Clarkson effect; What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With God, nothing is going to kill you, unless God says it is your time, so EVERY SINGLE negative is being used by God for our positive. We just need to be still long enough to realize that fact. Look I get it, we consistently desire to know the reasons for our tribulations while we are going through it, and oftentimes the benefits are not seen until we have long been through the storm. Stillness though, allows us to trust God long enough to know He is producing patience, strength, perseverance, and hope in our lives so that through any fire we are refined into the righteous people we have the capability of becoming through Christ.
Why is realizing the production of the positives so difficult in our negatives?
Apply Our Weaknesses As Others’ Strengths
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-6.
When we remain still long enough to see what God is doing in our negatives, we begin to focus on Him and the work He is doing in our lives. The problem now is that there is a world of people who are struggling with the same issue you just overcame. That’s why God provides a third step to focusing on Him: Apply the negative in your life, the negative you just turned into a positive through God, as a means to strengthen others caught in the wake of their negative. When we develop an understanding of God’s workings in the pain, we can utilize that understanding to help others! This is a powerful tool God has given us in not only overcoming the negative, but also sharing the Gospel with another. Our ability to focus on God in the negative can be used for a divine purpose. As shown in the verses we just read, Paul understood this fact. He knew that when He went through something in His life, he was going to be comforted by God. Understanding that comfort, he was then able to utilize it to comfort others. We need to be able to do the exact same thing. So to wrap up this question: How Does God Expect Us To Stay Focused On Him In A World Full Of Negative? He expects us to remain still long enough to realize how He is working in this world of negatives. Then, when we realize that, we use our understanding to comfort others!
Has there been a time where you could help someone out with something they were going through, because you yourself went through the same thing? Did your situation help you comfort them or hinder you?