Finding Jesus in Your Circumstances
If you can locate Jesus in your circumstances, if you can find Him there, it doesn’t matter how tough those circumstances are, the balance is made up and you go over, not under. Your circumstances don’t have to change. If you don’t find Jesus, and settle rather for substitutes like busy-ness, religiosity, hyper-spirituality or mysticism, or someone else’s experience with Jesus, then you’ll never have the backbone, the power, the hope, or the peace to face reality as God sees it.
The place of her despair had become the place of her visitation. Not only did she give the Lord a name, but she named the place: Beer Lahai Roi, which means “the well of the Living One.” She had found the source of life and love. It was a vast supply. Everything was different. Actually, her circumstances had not changed at all. Hagar alone had changed. But it made all the difference!
I remember an encounter I had with the Lord many years ago. It was at a very miserable point in my life and ministry. The people wouldn’t do what I thought they needed to do so I wasn’t feeling like a success. To spare you the details, let’s just say I was pretty miserable. In the midst of my struggling, I remember lying on my bed one day, just about to weep. I was saying, “God, why isn’t any of this working? It’s not happening. What’s the hold-up, God?” And all of the sudden, I had this picture come into my mind’s eye. I saw myself down in a grave, six feet deep, blue sky and white clouds flying by above, and one shovel full of dirt after another was coming down on me. It was like it was hitting the top of a coffin because it made a heavy “thud”, but I could see out.
I wondered, “What is this?” And I sensed the Lord say to me, “I’m bringing you into an experience of My death. I’m killing all of the stuff in you that keeps trying to do all this in your own strength. I’m killing the thing that wants to run on a man-centered vision, on a plan that you think seems good, but is not from Me.”
You think I’d say, “Ouch, God.” But do you know what? I didn’t say “ouch.” I said, “Oh, I’ve located Jesus in my circumstances. Ah, so that’s why it’s not been working. I’m actually working against what You’re doing. Okay, now that I know that, I’m just going to rest in this. God, I thank You for these circumstances, that You’re working out an eternal plan that I couldn’t see. Lord, even if it takes longer than I thought, that’s okay. Now that I know You’re in the midst of this and You’re not a million miles away, it changes everything.” Even though nothing outwardly changed, it changed me because the Living One who sees me was with me.
That’s what we need. And do you know what? My experience, even my testimony just now, won’t work for you. You might even have gotten goose bumps as you read, but that won’t be enough for you. We can’t all keep feeding off of other people’s experiences and callings. See, that’s the thing with Hagar and Sarah. They were trying to feed off of one another. The psychologists call that “co-dependency”. Abraham was the only one who had really experienced the Lord. Do you want the blessing of Abraham? Do you want to increase? Then, you’ve got to experience the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Hagar… Do you see it? Your name has to be plugged in there, and when it is, you have your own name for God. You have your own testimony with God. You have your own holy experience and sacred places that you can tell people about. You don’t live as a relic of the past; you go on today experiencing Him. You’ll be able to speak of God in first person, not second person. It will no longer be what so-and-so said, but what God said to you! That’s the critical issue.
Trust Him. Rest in His love. Remember, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Fear was driving Sarah and Hagar. But perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love is what we’re going for. That’s God’s kind of love. That’s what will fill your heart and really set you free.