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What You Didn’t Know Was…

Planetshakers Team11 August 2020

If you’ve ever been scuba diving, you’ll know that it is an experience like no other. Before you dive into the water, you are taught how to use your equipment and the techniques required to survive, but as we all know, we weren’t made to breathe underwater. Once you’re finally in the water, you realise that you’re in a situation that you cannot get out of quickly. You are immersed and surrounded by millions of litres of water, with your life depending entirely on the equipment that you were earlier fitted with.

On a recent holiday, I decided that I wanted to get my Scuba Diving Licence—since my wife already had hers. There is a long process to obtaining your licence and you need to complete several dives at different depths. On my final dive, I was 30 metres deep, underwater, and began to feel sick. I told the instructor that I needed to get out of there ASAP (by signalling a 'thumbs up’), but you know what he did? He ignored me and kept swimming! It’s not easy trying to get out of these situations, as there is a specific process to re-surfacing that ensures that your ears and body can stabilise properly. I had a choice to make at that moment; freak out or bring myself under control and calm down. I chose the latter, and thankfully, survived the unpleasant moment. The whole experience of surviving in an unfamiliar environment is dictated by your ability to control yourself and your reactions— even when you can’t control your circumstances.

Life can be just like this. As we find ourselves in environments we can’t control, we need to remember that we DO have the power to control ourselves and how we react to the challenges we are confronted with. Just like the underwater world, there are a lot of environments we were not created to live in. For example, we were not created to live in an environment of fear, but rather to live in love—to forgive and not to harbour offence. Likewise, we were not created for environments and atmospheres of loneliness, depression, heaviness or oppression, so if we weren’t created for it, we shouldn’t expect to survive in it. In the same way that I was not created to breathe underwater and struggled before taking authority over my reactions, it is important to recognise whether or not the environment you find yourself in, is where you were created to thrive. If not, it’s time to take authority over it!

As we find ourselves in environments we can’t control, we need to remember that we DO have the power to control ourselves and how we face the challenges we are confronted with.

What you didn’t know was that you were not created for such environments

So, how can we get out of these environments? It is important to first acknowledge the environment we’re in and then determine what is needed to survive in it. When I go scuba diving, I know that I can’t breathe underwater, so I will need equipment to survive—goggles, snorkel, wet suit and an oxygen tank. Without them, I would quickly succumb to the pressure of this foreign environment. In the same way, there is something critical that we all need if we want to survive the difficult environments that we can find ourselves in; we need to understand that more than ANYTHING else, we need God’s Presence to both survive and thrive. The Bible tells us that we were created to be in relationship with God—where we can find His Presence and find life. In John 10:10, we are told that that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; [God has] come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” The Bible goes on to tell us in Psalm 16:11 that we will be filled with joy in His Presence. It is so clear that God has designed us to live daily in His Presence, where we can find joy and the fullness of life, regardless of what situation we face.

For any situation in life that we find ourselves in, we need to understand that we need God’s Presence to survive and thrive.
A powerful example of this in the Bible is the story of Joseph, found in Genesis 37. After receiving a dream from God, he was thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers. His circumstances made it seem as though the Word he had received from God would never come to pass. It is easy to see similarities in our lives today. In 2020, Planetshakers Church received a Word from God for the year ahead—acceleration. Not long after, we were faced with a global pandemic that challenged this Word, head-on, promising the very opposite! Like Joseph, it would be easy for us to feel disappointed and make decisions that could negatively impact our God-given destiny, based on what we see happening around us. Thankfully, Joseph refused to do that and did not succumb to the negative environment around him!
From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.”

What you didn’t know was that you were part of His plan

I’m sure you can imagine how Joseph felt as he cried out to God, while those around him were being blessed. Sometimes we can feel the same; as if we are not receiving our own breakthrough. But what you didn’t know was— maybe someone around you needed to be blessed right now. Maybe there’s someone that God wants to touch THROUGH you despite the circumstances you find yourself in. You might be going home at night and praying to God that He will bless you, and yet feel like nothing is changing, but what you didn’t know was that God wants to use your life to bless someone else—through His power at work through you. While Joseph begins to wonder how God could be in control when his situation is getting worse, he tells us over and over that the Lord is with Him. Despite how Joseph’s situation looked, he chose to continue to trust God. He understood that he was in a position where he could not control his environment, but he COULD control his reaction—and chose to say, “yes”, to God’s plan. So, despite his lack of vision to see how the situation could change, he had the faith to know that God would come through on His Word. It doesn’t matter what situation you find yourself in, where you are or how you feel, God can always come and move IN you and THROUGH you. The key to surviving these threatening, hopeless situations is to give them to God. We can’t always change our circumstances and environments, but He can!

Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh... Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”

What you didn’t know was God can work all things for our good

In one day, Joseph went from waking up in prison, to being completely in charge of the land of Egypt! After much struggle, the Word God gave to Joseph, finally came to pass! So I want to encourage you to hold on to the Word God gives you. Even from the lowest of low circumstances, God can turn the situation around in a moment! It’s easy to pick up fear or offence in times of hardship, as this is a normal human reaction. Joseph could have blamed his brothers for locking him up and harboured offence against them, but instead, the Bible tells us in Genesis 50:19-20 (NIV), that Joseph replied to his brothers, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” What you didn’t know was, what the enemy intended for evil, God intended for good! While the enemy tries to drown us in fear and hopelessness, God is busy turning it all around for good, bringing revival, acceleration and salvation to our lives!

Even from the lowest of low circumstances, God can turn the situation around in a moment!
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were locked in prison. They could have blamed God for their situation, but instead, they chose to not live in an atmosphere of fear or worry. Paul and Silas knew they were created for and desperately needed God’s Presence, and immediately set about attracting it by praising and magnifying Him far above their very serious problems. The rest is history! As soon as God’s Presence enters any prison that we find ourselves in, no chain is left unbroken and we are set free from the oppressive environment that we have been immersed in.
As soon as God’s Presence enters any prison that we find ourselves in, no chain is left unbroken and we are set free from the oppressive environment that we have been immersed in.
“...When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
God’s Presence and power can overcome any situation that we find ourselves in, no matter what chains or barriers are holding us captive. So, I want to encourage you today, as you face your own problems, choose to magnify God over them and look to Him through every situation. Magnify God by praising and thanking Him for all He has done, and for all He is going to do! We were created to thrive in His Presence, so step into it now and allow Him to move in and through you freely. Only there will you find real peace and joy in the face of life’s circumstances!