There are times when our life experiences have led us to form improper conclusions that are contrary to the Word of God. The result can be relying on our human understanding instead of placing our full trust in God and His Word (Prov 3:5,6). This can lead to wrong choices, which have long-lasting consequences for us and for the people we lead.
The Bible gives a clear example of this (Gen 15:1–17:21). God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a natural-born son (15:4-6). Sarah became impatient, and did not hold fast to what God had promised. Instead, she relied on her own human idea and offered her maid to Abraham (a common practice of that day).
Indeed, her maid bore Abraham a son, but it was a son born out of disobedience and disbelief in God’s Word (16:1-4) and it caused much heartache (16:12). This son, Ishmael, and his descendants are the forefathers of the Arabic peoples. Centuries of bloodshed and warfare between Ishmael’s descendants and the people of Israel have been the result.
As pastors and leaders, we must resolve that experience must never replace the Word of God as our foundation of truth. Our circumstances can never be the source of our decisions. The Bible is our only source for what is true! The Bible is God’s revelation and wisdom revealed to mankind. No matter what situation you face, the Bible has the answer of truth for you. (You can read more about the importance of the Word of God later in this article.)
GOD IS WITH US
Some experiences in life can be confusing. We often have difficulty discerning the source of a trial. Are we being tempted or tested (Jas 1:2-18)? Is the trial from God, Satan, or just a trial of my own flesh? We may wonder why we are going through a difficult time.
Some of the most difficult lessons are born out of the uncertainties of life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it does not seem that justice prevails. While a just end to a circumstance may not be realized in this life, as Christians we still have the assurance that God is for us (Rom 8:31) and that justice will certainly prevail in the end (Gal 6:7).
Difficult circumstances, natural disasters or tragedies may lead us to think that God is the author of these events. But we must remember that we live in a world that is broken by sin and still under the influence of Satan (1John 5:19). Mankind’s rejection of God and His ways, coupled with man’s sinful choices, have resulted in a world of suffering and pain, a world where “the rain falls on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45).
It is impossible to know or understand all that we would like to know about this life, or about God and His ways. But we can rest in the fact that everything we need to know for life and godliness has been made available to us through Jesus Christ: “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).