By Pastor Jarren Rogers
“Even if we may not always understand why God allows certain things to happen to us, we can know He is able to bring good out of evil, and triumph out of suffering.”
– Billy Graham
There are so many verses about God’s protection. Here are just two examples: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me” (Psalm 138:7).
In both of these verses, the writers speak to God’s preservation. But think about the authors. Paul was thrown in prison, beaten, persecuted, and eventually killed for the Gospel. And what about David? His Psalms are filled with laments and verses of agony. He was chased by King Saul and betrayed by some of his loved ones.
How could these writers have lives filled with suffering and yet speak to God’s protection and preservation?
I was driving the other day in the middle of a storm and I thought about how God’s protection can be illustrated by the rain. Too often, we expect God’s protection to be like an umbrella in a rain shower. We think that he should keep every single drop of sorrow away from us so that we can walk through life completely dry.
But God’s protection is more like a tree in the midst of a thunderstorm. Though all of nature around it is chaotic, loud, and destructive, the tree stands firm.
If you’ve ever stood underneath a tree in the middle of a rain shower you know that you never stay completely dry. The tree holds a vast majority of water at bay, but rain still gets through. But, you’re still a lot better off than you would be standing out in the open.
That’s a lot like our God. He is never shaken by the chaos of life. He stands firm in the midst of our harrowing circumstances. We will never know on this side of Heaven how much God protects us from. How many traveling mercies that he has given us, the health problems He’s prevented, the arrows of the Enemy He has brought down. But that doesn’t mean we never experience sorrow. God allows some raindrops of pain to tumble down His leaves and drop on our shoulders.
But the good news is this:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
That’s what God’s preservation is all about. God offers his protection but not invincibility. He makes us strong but not invulnerable. Otherwise, why would we need to rely on Him?
Look to God to be the steady tree that never bends in the midst of the storm, filtering the rain so that you are never drenched.