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Do things ever seem to contradict your expectations?

Well, here we are. My first day back on “live post” – I had pre-scheduled the past few days of posts due to surgery.

And I love today’s question of the day for post-a-day here at WordPress.

Absolutely I do believe everything happens for a reason. And I believe that reason is two-fold – evil vs good.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 (NLT)

It all comes down to the nature of the fallen one – Satan, the father of lies, the deceiver, the accuser of the brethren, the thief, the king of darkness, the confuser, the divider of families, etc., etc., etc.

vs

The nature of the Risen One – God, Father, Son, and Spirit, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our Redeemer, the One who restores our souls, the Light of the world, the Prince of Peace, the One who brings reconciliation, the list of the goodness of His character and nature goes on for all eternity.

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:16-17 (NLT)

What the enemy means for evil, the Lord means for good. We choose the outcome by our own attitudes and perspectives. We can only see the effects we choose to see. If we refuse to be in relationship with the Lord our God, we will only see the effects of the enemy’s intentions. When we are faced with difficulty, we will see it as an assault, a barrier, a reason to be depressed or to give up, it will all be negative.

But for those who walk in personal relationship with the Living God, our eyes are opened to see the effects of His intentions. We see how He is drawing us ever closer to Himself. We see how He is refining us to be complete, whole, the image of His beloved Son – perfect in every detail. We can then see difficulties from a very different perspective; we see, not an attack, but an opportunity to prove the faithfulness of our God; not a barrier, but an invitation to enter into His life; not a reason to be depressed, but a reason to rejoice and praise the goodness of our God; not a desire to give up, but a compelling to rise up and demonstrate the salvation of our Savior. Life is then lived with the view of eternity always in the forefront.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying life will always be rose petals and fluff. In fact, we will always face difficulties and trials. There will always be challenges and complexities. We are still subject to a world that is fallen and broken. Bodies still deteriorate and are subject to disease and injury and the effects of the evil that surrounds us. But how we face those things will be vastly different. How we battle with evil will be different. How we view the future will be different. And even our motivation for why we do what we do will be different.

In the past year I have watched as my relationship with my husband came crumbling down around me, my finances and credit go from excellent to utterly destroyed, my children struggling to define their own personal relationships with God and others, close friends whom I have loved for years turn and walk away without explanation, chosen family members I love dearly struggle with life’s challenges, and my own struggle with physical pain, failing body parts, entering grad school, and seeking to hear the direction of the Lord clearly and strengthening my desire to follow Him passionately.

There have been many miracles along the way. There have been as many challenges and setbacks. There have been temptations and there have been lessons learned in such a deep and penetrating way that my life has been forever altered. Tough, heartbreaking decisions have had to be made and remade. I have doubted and I have walked in absolute certainty. Do I know the details of how it will all turn out? Not yet. But I do know this:  Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is mine through Christ, who loved me.

I have grown closer and closer to my Heavenly Father, my Papi. I am growing in my relationship with my Savior, who has chosen to become my Brother and has invited me to be His bride. I am becoming intimately aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit residing in me and speaking to me and guiding me in His paths. It is a journey and an ongoing process. It is a love story and an epic adventure. It is LIFE! And His Life is the victory!

Do I really believe everything happens for a reason, you ask. ABSOLUTELY!

How about you?

And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:23-39

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