All this happened so they would follow His principles and obey His laws. Praise the LORD!  
          Psalm 105:45 (NLT)

Prior to this verse (i.e., the “all this” that the verse is referring to), is a recitation of the entire history of the Israelites. In other words, God is saying that all that had happened occurred so that they would follow God’s principles and obey His laws.

Do we operate from this mindset, thinking – knowing – that everything that happens to us is for the same purpose – to help us follow God’s principles and obey His laws? Or do we kick against things that are happening in our lives, resisting God’s constant nudging toward Christ-likeness? Perhaps we simply blame Satan for all the bad things that happen to us. Scripture clearly teaching that Satan seeks to defeat us, but it also clearly teaches that God is sovereign and that He allows difficulty into our lives to form and shape us into the image of Christ. That constant kneading, pushing and pulling is the very Hand of God shaping us into the piece of pottery He has designed us for. And sometimes (often times?) that kneading, pushing and pulling hurts.

Many years ago I shattered my elbow. My orthopedic surgeon said it looked like someone had taken a sledge hammer to it! It wasn’t a sledge hammer, it was a gymnasium floor. I had fallen while playing volleyball at a denominational retreat/conference. I had gone to be refreshed and strengthened in the Lord. Instead I got an extremely painful injury that took months of recovery time and yielded a lifetime of some disability. Satan? No, it was clearly God!

After sitting with my husband during my elbow surgery, a friend received a vision. As he drove home, he saw a picture of me in my hospital bed with a very large angel by my bedside stroking my injured arm. Wow. Wow!

For weeks I had tremendous pain in my arm, often shooting pains from just wiggling a little finger. But I frequently went back to that vision and imagined that the pains were caused by the angel massaging my arm so that I would some day be able to use it again. I knew the Lord was bringing healing. Three different doctors had told me I’d be lucky if I ever got 70% of the use of my arm back. After much prayer and therapy, not to mention an excellent surgeon, I have 95% use of my arm. For all intents and purposes I am able to use my arm to do all the things I need to do. I can’t move heavy tables and I have to make adjustments when I pull heavy luggage. Small prices to pay for the many lessons that came from the experience!

A couple of weeks ago I pulled my white car out of the garage , being very careful not to hit the side-view mirror against the door of the garage…and slammed it quite solidly into the rear side panel and bumper of our gray car. Again, I was in the process of doing a good thing – I was driving to church where I was bringing the morning message  – a message that I was absolutely certain was of God and for that very day. As I type this, our car is in the body shop having a large dent hammered out, a new bumper put on, and a new coat of paint slathered on to cover any evidence of damage. Were the car able to “feel” these things, I imagine it would be pretty painful. (As it is, it will only be painful to my wallet and the insurance company.)

My point is that God is at work in our lives all the time, and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. But He is still at work, so that we learn to follow Him more closely and have a greater impact on others. It’s time for us to imagine…no, it’s time for us to know that it is God working in us, hammering out the dents, massaging the broken areas. Let’s not resist God’s efforts to make us more like Christ. And let’s remember to look back at all that He has done in our lives – they happened so that we would follow His principles and obey His laws.

Praise the Lord!

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