All of us will experience a giant shake-up at some point. We will be striving towards accomplishing plan A when plan Q gets thrown into our path. This can be a death, a sudden illness, an accident, a job loss, a natural disaster, or any number of things that we never dreamed of preparing for. I actually sit writing this in Managua, Nicaragua, where I am spending the week house hunting in preparation for our family serving as missionaries here beginning in July. Trust me when I say that leaving the US to serve in a developing country where we don’t speak the language was not OUR plan A. It was definitely a major shake-up in our lives. Like many other shake-ups I’ve experienced it was also one I really had not prepared my mind for. The question most of us don’t take the time to ask is: what do we do when our world is shaken up? The reality is that ALL of us our going to experience significant shake-ups in our lives, so what do we do when it happens?
I am reminded of a shake-up of astronomical proportions that happened to the Israelites in the Book of Daniel. One day King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel, destroying everything that the people had known. Many were carted away to Babylon to be slaves, including Daniel. Now that’s having your world shaken up! There are some things all of us can really learn from the experience of Daniel and the Israelites.
Don’t be surprised by adversity. Specific adversities will surprise us, but the fact that we will face adversity should never shock us. There tend to be four major sources of adversity: sin, our world, Satan, and God. Don’t let adversity surprise you. Develop habits such as prayer, scripture reading, surrounding yourself with Christian supporters and mentors, and trust God in all things. Adversity WILL happen, so prepare for it.
Look for God in adversity. I can’t imagine that many Israelites thought being conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and hauled into slavery was a good thing. Yet, God worked in amazing ways through this adversity. God repeatedly protected his people, and even managed to change the heart of Nebuchadnezzar himself. God’s miraculous saving of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, has given inspiration for thousands of years. When life is shaken up keep your eyes open, because God may act in a major way.
Trust God with what you don’t understand. Do you think Daniel understood why everything was happening as it was? No way! But, he prayerfully trusted God amiss the struggle. While there are many things we won’t understand there is one thing we should always understand perfectly: God overcomes death for us!
I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply
at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. John 16:33