>The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33

When someone refers to their “lot in life,” it usually comes across as a fatalistic acceptance of whatever trouble they are forced to endure. Some people seem to be lucky, while others are not. But, some people make their own luck. They prepare for a situation. They see beyond the immediate circumstance. They recognize that there are no coincidences in a committed life.

Whether we look at our lives as purpose-driven or we look at our lives as a crap shoot, God is the One who is rolling the dice and determining the outcome. This too could seem quite fatalistic, except that we know God is working for our good (Romans 8:28). He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He has a purpose for our lives (2 Timothy 1:9). But, beyond all of the details of our lives, bumps and bruises included, God wills one thing for each and every one of us.

Here is God’s will for you and me: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Whether things go our way or go the other way, God’s will for you and me is that we would rejoice, pray and give thanks in all circumstances. I will admit, there are some circumstances that are hard to give thanks for. There are situations that are hard to rejoice over. There are times when it’s hard to pray. But, this is God’s will for us.

It would be much easier if God’s will was for us to be healthy, wealthy and wise. If all of the good things that entered our lives were God’s will, we would know that we were blessed. If bad things came into our lives, we would know that we needed to straighten up and get our lives back on track. But, here’s the deal: “[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). When it rains, we all get wet.

So, let’s be honest, when have we grown the most, in good times or in bad? For most of us, the hardships of life have produced far more growth than the easy times. When we face problems, we are more diligent in prayer. We are more careful to remember and recite the goodness of God. Our past victories give us hope for the future. God is far more concerned about our character than our comfort.

What are you depressed about today? What can you rejoice about instead? What are you worried about today? Anything you think about more than three times a day is a worry. Pray about it instead (Philippians 4:6-7). What are you complaining about today? What can you give thanks for instead?

Is your car broken down? Thank God that you have a car. Are your water pipes leaking? Thank God that you have clean, running water. Many people in the world do not. (To get involved, check out the work of Water of Life at givefreshwater.org).

James wrote a sentence that is more than a little challenging to accept: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

That thing that is bothering you just might be the way that God is working in your life today.

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