Sometimes life is so hard. It seems like things go wrong constantly & you are stressed, hurt or frustrated. In those times, God seems far away. Not only because of the problems you’re going through but also because it can be so easy to get caught up in them & forget to keep God first. It is in those times that we need to stop behaving like the person Jesus described in Matthew 13:22 in the parable of the seeds sown in various types of soil. That person is the one who is distracted from his relationship with God by the things of the world like personal problems. Unfortunately no one is immune to behaving this way sometimes.
When you’re distracted by problems, it is vital to turn back to God as soon as you recognize what you are doing. He deserves first place in your life after all! Doing so also will help strengthen you & help you to figure out ways to handle your situation. It may teach you some other things as well. God truly wants the best for His children, so He often uses circumstances to protect, teach & guide us. Following are some examples of when He does these things.
Anything that isn’t Biblical, God will close the door to. If you have to lie to get a new job for example, God will close that door so you don’t get the job or allow you to get it but you will be miserable with it. It can be difficult & even painful in the moment, but truly it’s for the best! You have learned not to behave that way, & He has something much better planned for you. Seriously consider your situation. If there is anything about it that goes contrary to God’s word, chances are it’s going wrong because God is trying to close that door to keep you away from that bad thing.
Sometimes God closes the door on relationships too. Some people may look good on the surface, they may even be very good people, but they aren’t good for you. God knows better than you what is in their hearts, so trust Him to lead you to people that are good for you. It never hurts to ask God to give you good, healthy & Bible believing friends in your life. If you’re looking for a romantic partner, this is an especially good prayer to pray. Being a believer married to an unbeliever is not a good place to be!
Sometimes God uses difficult circumstances to teach us things. We learn forgiveness when we are wronged by other people. When we go through hard times, we learn mercy for others who go through similar hard times. When someone tells us what we did hurt them, we learn humility. None of these situations are fun at the time, but they do help us to learn some pretty valuable things.
There are also times God uses difficult circumstances to punish us. Hebrews 12:6-7 in the Amplified Bible says, “For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves, And He punishes every son whom He receives and welcomes [to His heart].” 7You must submit to [correction for the purpose of] discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Obviously those times aren’t exactly pleasant, but they can be beneficial. For example, your spouse tells you that they are upset about how disrespectfully your family treats them, but in spite of seeing evidence your spouse is correct, you ignore your family’s behavior or worse yet, make excuses for it. Then you get a new coworker. This person is very disrespectful to you. They push you aside so they can deal with customers instead, or talk badly about you to other coworkers maybe even your boss. You go to your boss with your concerns. The boss tells you he doesn’t see this behavior as a problem or you have to let this go because this person has some sort of personal problems. The way you feel in that situation mirrors much how your spouse feels. God still loves you, but He is punishing you for treating your spouse badly. Also, He uses this as a good learning experience. Now that you know how your spouse feels, you are going to be more sensitive the next time they come to you with a complaint about your family’s disrespectful behavior.
The next time you are in a situation that is challenging or painful, I want to encourage you to try your best not to be so distracted by it that you ignore God. Instead, turn to Him. Ask what is going on, what is He trying to tell you & to help you get through it. He absolutely will do answer your prayers!