When we find ourselves in difficult situations, it’s only natural to want to change them. Of course, in many cases change can be a real plus. Some time ago, I was out hiking when a thunderstorm passed overhead. Before I knew it, I was being pelted by pea-sized hail. So I changed direction and headed for the nearest shelter. Nothing wrong with that!But sometimes we can focus so much on altering our circumstances that we fail to thrive right where we are. We can get so wrapped up in our own misery and victimization that we can’t see what God might want to do in us and through us. Some of the new believers in first-century Corinth fell into this trap. Spouses yearned to be free from their marriages. Slaves thought they needed to be released in order to serve God. Uncircumcised men sought circumcision. In their eagerness to change their situations, they were missing out on God’s plans for them. So, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul advised: “Each of you should continue in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches” (7:17). Rather than being preoccupied with their circumstances, the Corinthians needed to learn how to serve the Lord right where they were when God called them to himself through Christ. This passage from 1 Corinthians does not mean that you and I can never change our lives. But it does encourage us to be open to what God wants to do in us and through us in the present. We might even discover that God has placed us in challenging situations for his purposes, and that the difficulties of our lives are part of God’s redeeming work. QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your life when you have focused so much on your negative situation that you weren’t open to what God wanted to do in the midst of that situation? What helps you be open to God, even in the face of difficulties? What might God want to do in you and through you today? PRAYER: Gracious God, how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in my circumstances, to focus so much on changing the externals of my life that I fail to attend to what you are wanting to do in me and through me. Forgive me, Lord, for my inattention and preoccupation. Help me to discern when a change in my situation is warranted, and help me to know when it’s right for me to stay put. But, no matter whether it’s time for a change or a time to remain in place, may I be more open to you, Lord. May I be aware of your work within me, shaping me to be more like Christ. And may I be attentive to your Spirit, so that I might serve you no matter where I am. Use me, dear Lord, in each and every circumstance, for your purpose and glory. Amen. SOURCE: , Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
Thriving Right Where You Are
Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.