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I opened the door for our contractor and he stepped inside, out of the dark, humid and rainy summer morning. I said, “Wow, it’s really gross out there!” He responded with, “I’m thankful the Lord directed my plans this week. I did my outside work yesterday instead of today like I originally planned.”
Instantly I was convicted. I do not think our contractor meant his words as a rebuke, but the Holy Spirit used them to show me something really important. I was ready to point at the rain and complain about it. He was ready to point to God and praise Him for His control over our lives.
Am I ready to point to the rain or am I ready to point to God?
When someone asks “How are you?” am I ready to complain about the difficulties of the day or am I ready to praise God for His faithfulness that transcends the difficulties of the day?
When someone shares something with me (a baby on the way, a new job, a job loss, a decision that has to be made), am I ready to point out the potential difficulty in that situation or am I ready to point them to an all powerful God who is already in their tomorrow?
The goal of doing this is not to make myself look good or to make others think I’m more spiritual than they are. Jerry Bridges says this: “Life is made up of a series of little moments. It is in response to those moments that we display our heart for glorifying God.” (The Joy Of Fearing God)
Pointing to God instead of pointing to the rain ultimately glorifies God. It makes God bigger in the eyes of the person we’re talking to – and it puts the problem, issue or trial into proper perspective.
I cannot do this on my own. The book I quoted above goes on to say, “Although we have the responsibility to glorify God in everything we do, we are dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.”
Having a personal relationship with God is the first step toward this goal. Spending time reading His Word every day fills me up so that the first thing that comes out of me is the hope, truth and joy of Scripture.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord grants favor and honor; he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Happy is the person who trusts in you, Lord of Armies! Psalm 84:11-12
One passage that I like to pray often is this one:
That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3
This doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the suffering that we or that others may face. We can certainly acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and express our sympathy toward the person involved. Pointing to God instead of the rain means sharing comfort like this:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Read More: Offering Silent Support To Hurting Friends
Here are a few practical examples of things you can say that will point to God instead of to the rain:
- I will be praying that God gives you grace for that difficulty.
- Praise God! He’s provided a new job for you!
- That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to see how God uses you.
- I’m so thankful for the hope of Heaven, when we are all together with the Lord.
- I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!
- That will be a challenge, but I know God is able!
Thinking on my feet is not something I do well. Sometimes I’ll follow up with someone by sending a text or a card to encourage them. Just because I didn’t say the right thing in the moment doesn’t mean I lost my chance to be a blessing to someone. 🙂
I’m so thankful that the Holy Spirit helps me to know how to respond in these situations. Any God-glorifying response that I’m able to give is a direct result of His grace in my life and His Word in my heart. Those things are available to you, too!