The Circumstances & Situations of Life
When a person becomes a Christian oftentimes they are misled by other well-meaning Christians to believe that the new Christian is now immune to the trials and tribulations of life here on planet earth! Such a belief could not be further from the biblical truth.
Using your Bible, look up the following verses and write them in the space provided. As you proceed answer the questions as they appear in this document.
2. What does Paul tell Timothy about afflictions in the above verse? ___________________
3. Romans 8:36 _______________________________________________________________
4. What kind of life does Paul describe in the above verse? ___________________________
5. 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 _________________________________________________________
6. How does Paul describe the Christians life in the two verses above? _________________
I think you would agree from the above scriptures that the Christian life is not free of trials and tribulations.
The circumstances and situations of this life have a number of origins.
A. You create most of them yourself by your life style and the decisions you make and do not make.
B. The decisions and actions of others in the world around us.
C. God is capable of supernaturally originating some of them.
D. God built some of them into His creation (look at how severe weather can affect our lives).
Depending upon our reaction to the circumstances and situations in our lives, we either become bitter toward life or we are drawn into a closer reliance on Christ who is within us. The circumstances and situations of life seem to be designed to draw to the surface those things that are not of God so that they can be dealt with and cleansed from our character.
7. 2 Corinthians 4:17 __________________________________________________________
8. How did the Apostle Paul, who endured the many afflictions he had in his life, view his afflictions? __________________________________________________________________
We can see from the content of 2 Corinthians 4:17 that Paul had a special understanding about afflictions.
9. 2 Corinthians 4:18 __________________________________________________________
10. What did Paul understand about afflictions and how they interrelated with all of life? ____________________________________________________________________________
From the above information it is clear that the circumstances and situations of life that we call “negative” are really opportunities to have a “positive” effect on our character.
11. Isaiah 45:7 _______________________________________________________________
In the verse above the word “evil” is the Hebrew word “rah.” The translators of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible chose to give this word the English meaning of “evil.”Possible meanings for this word include: bad, evil, adversity, affliction, calamity, mischief, wicked and wrong. It is my view that the translators have selected a poor meaning for this word for the following reason.
One of the Hebrew forms of writing is to write in couplets or contrasting opposites. In the Isaiah 45:7 verse we see in the first half of the verse a contrast between light and darkness. In order to continue the theme of contrasts, the second half of the verse demands that a contrast be provided for the word peace. Evil is not a fitting contrast to peace, but the meaning of adversity, affliction and calamity certainly do fit.
There are a number of Bible translators who do render the word “rah” differently. Just a few of them appear below along with their translation of “rah.”
New International Version (NIV) “and create disaster”
New American Standard Bible (NASB) “creating calamity”
Basic English Bible (BEB) “and sending trouble”
Because of the above reasons, I believe the word “rah” should be translated as “calamity” making it a contrasting opposite to the word “peace” in the verse. This also reinforces the earlier material in this Learning Activity where we have detailed that God uses the circumstances and situations in our lives.
In conclusion, we see that our lives consist of both the good times and what we would call the bad times. Our lives are sprinkled with both types of experiences, and both are needed for us to grow spiritually. When “good times” come we thank God and use our prosperity for and in His name. When “bad times” come, we chose not to resent them, but rather ask and seek for what it is we can learn from these refining experiences to fashion us into better servants and expressers of the Spirit of Christ within us.
Click on Self-Check below to check your understanding.