‘ … according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will’ Ephesians 1.11
When you are going through a hard time – whether it is due to general pressures, sickness or opposition – it is tempting, and pretty universal, to look to God and wonder why he has let this happen to you? Why has he brought about this particular turn of events? After all, surely it’s logical to think this way? If he is God then presumably he can prevent anything from happening?
This is a question many people have grappled with over the ages and there is certainly no easy answer. In this verse, however, Paul gives us one approach: to surrender to what God is doing through your hard time. Paul is not saying that God has caused your hardships, or that you have to accept them, but that God has a different plan for your life and is actively at work to bring it about, even in the darkest of times when you cannot find him.
The response to this is worship; to honour God’s presence, even if you cannot see it, and to trust in his action, even if it is hidden from you for a while. Some of life’s problems may seem to have no answer, but to learn to trust in God’s presence and activity in the worst of times is what will keep you from despair.