If you’ve waded in a clear stream or mountain pool you know that the pristine water is quickly made murky as all the sediment is stirred up. What once was clear as crystal becomes clouded. Where at first you may have gladly filled your canteen, now that the sludge has been stirred up you give a hard pass to drinking from that stream.
When circumstances you can’t control invade your peace, it tends to churn up all sorts of silt which you had become unaware of. Perhaps you lash out with a tone of voice you thought you’d never use. Or you venture down an unrighteous course of action, which you once would have considered unimaginable. Or the stress of your burdens paralyze you to inaction and indifference.
When circumstances stir up sinful emotions and desires, you ought not to lay the blame at your circumstances. Instead, you must learn that these events are chosen by God as tools to expose to your sight sinful sediment that has been hidden from sight for awhile. Our circumstances are not haphazardly chosen by God, He ordains all that comes to pass in order to remove impurities from your life.
For instance, an angry outburst at your family after a long day at the office is a revelation that unrighteous anger has been settling into the creek bed of your heart. Our sin, in other words, doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from within us, and we’re often quite meticulous to try to keep others from noticing the lust, resentment, fear, grudges, and greed that’s been slowly building up beneath the surface.
But God loves to shake things. He knows what particular set of adversities you need to dislodge your sin from the riverbed, and draw your attention to it. Don’t be embarrassed when your sin is made clear to you, be humbled. For God shakes things up, in order to set you free.
The best thing for us is for our sin to be made clear to us. We too often let it fester and breed in hidden corners of our hearts, and we think we can keep it isolated and under control. But the only way to deal with our sin is to kill it without mercy. God’s grace is tactical in that it forces us to see the various and manifold sins we’ve been tolerating in our own hearts and lives. Whether it be desiring what is not ours to have, or keeping that which we are commanded to give. May God forgive us for disobeying His Word, while obeying our sinful desires.
God, by His Word and through our circumstances, draws our eyes to see where we have sinned against Him. This isn’t to rub it in our face, but in order that we might humble ourselves and so be made clean by this glorious Word of the Gospel.