“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’” (Genesis 32:26 NLT).
Obviously, when God and Jacob entered their wrestling match, God could have overpowered Jacob and ended things instantly. Why did God let the struggle go on?
Here’s the lesson: When God allows a crisis into your life, he doesn’t solve it immediately. He lets it go on for a while because he wants to see if you’re really serious about seeking him. If God answered every prayer immediately, you’d begin to think God was a big vending machine: Put in a prayer, pull out whatever you need.
I can’t tell you how many people say, “Rick, I am praying for a financial miracle in my life. I am so in debt and I’m praying for a financial miracle.” I sometimes want to say, “Did you get in debt supernaturally?” The truth is often no. Some people have poor financial habits that keep them stuck in debt. Your debt may be the result of foolish decisions. You may have spent more money than you were making. Or maybe you didn’t save for the lean times that inevitably come in life. Or maybe you didn’t use your money wisely.
Why should God just bail you out? If God just instantly bailed you out of a financial crisis rooted in your poor choices, then tomorrow you’d go out and overspend again. You wouldn’t learn discipline, or money management, or wisdom, or persistence. God is not just going to bail you out of the debt you got yourself into; he will help you get out of debt, but he wants to build your character in the process.
If you’re in a crisis right now, hang in there! Don’t give up. Don’t run from it. Don’t try to escape. Most problems you have in your life didn’t get there overnight. You may have worked years getting yourself into this mess. You may have some ingrained patterns, bad responses, and wrong habits that have built up over the years. So God isn’t going to remove those all at once. It’s kind of like peeling an onion; he takes it off one layer at a time. But here’s the hope. God is with you and he is for you. When you ask God for help, and trust him to provide, you will experience the peace of his wisdom and blessing.
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Talk It Over
- How has God shaped your character by not immediately bailing you out of a crisis?
- What is one important truth God has taught you through a recent crisis in your life?
- What pattern, habit, or way of responding is God working on in your life right now?