In my beginning ESOL class, I like to teach my students the basic question words early on in the school year. These question words are important for us in order to get information. And when we recognize them and use them correctly, we can have interesting conversations! Here they are...the 5W's & H: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?
Maybe you noticed (or not) that we used three of these key question words in our Bible study from Part 2: Who? What? Why?
So let's have a conversation about the first question:
WHO is responsible for the circumstances we find ourselves in?
The short answer, GOD! He has sovereign control of the universe. Ultimately, if He doesn't ordain/allow it, it can't happen! (Deut 32:39) But at times there can also be other "agents" involved.
That being said, let's go to our question in the context of our three stories:
1. The Boat Story (Matthew 14:22)
Did you notice that in Matthew 14, it says that Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him? (And ultimately they ended up out it the storm!) The Greek word for made is literally the word compel. He compelled them to get in the boat and go ahead of Him!
Now in my thinking, compel is a strong word. So the disciples went into circumstances that were totally not of their choosing, but were absolutely God-ordained.
2. The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-14)
In Luke 24, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus found themselves confused and discouraged. Why? Because of the arrest, trial, abuse, crucifixion, and burial of their Hero...their Messiah. They hadn't yet gotten it about the resurrection and victory of the Lord. So they were thrust into the midst of circumstances that Peter, filled with the Spirit, later declared on the day of Pentecost,
Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. Acts 2:22-24 NASB
So here these Christ-followers were in the midst of circumstances that were God-ordained and yet sinful men were responsible! Man did it, but God did it! Jesus Himself said that it was "necessary." (Luke 24:26)
3. Jesus Knocking (Rev 3:15-20)
In our last story, we see something totally different! We see circumstances that were caused by these believers own self-sufficient, prideful choices and attitudes. They thought they didn't need a thing...they had it all! And Jesus told them that they did't know how bankrupt they really were! So their circumstances were their own fault. But guess what? Jesus was there for them anyway...if they would just open the door!
Good News for us!
And that is good news for us! No matter whether our circumstances are purely beyond our control and totally God-ordained...or caused by other sinful men...or because of our own stupid, prideful choices...guess what? Jesus is there waiting to be invited in to our "boats"...to be urged to stay...to have our door opened to HIM!
What are your circumstances today? Don't over-analyze it...open wide to Him! HE loves you and wants to be wanted by YOU!
More questions next time :)