As a kid, I can remember having to deal with a lot of stomach issues. Whenever that would happen, my mom would bring out the Pepto-Bismol. It is the only medicine I have ever swallowed that tasted good. That bubble gum flavor went a long way towards helping my sour or sick stomach. But there was one thing she always did before administering the dose with that huge spoon. She would shake the bottle with a vigorous back and forth of her wrist. It was later in life that I took the time to read the back of a Pepto-Bismol bottle. Sure enough, there it was – “Shake well before administering content”. Why? Because, over a period of time, the ingredients will separate and settle. The shaking provides the needed mixing of ingredients in order to be effective.
Sometimes life gets shaken up and we wonder what is going on. Our prayers bounce off the ceiling and questions come forcefully to the surface.
- Why is heaven silent?
- Why is this evil allowed?
- If God is good, then He must not be powerful; otherwise, He would do something to my world
that has been so badly shaken
These questions and more often follow with our resolve and determination. “Things are all shook up so I must do something” is our motto. “I will focus on these circumstances and fix them myself”.
The circumstances then become our complete focus. They consume and control our mind, will and emotions. At the time, there might be two questions which will help when answered honestly.
“Is this shaking for my correction?” God desires to get our attention and we have to decide if we will listen.
“Is this shaking for my perfection?” Some shakings are tests to reveal areas for improvement.
The Lord is to be our focus and when He becomes the center-point, we find out how to focus not on our circumstances, but through them. The results may be:
Perspective – He gives a higher view of life. Joseph, to his bad brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You meant this for evil, but God meant it for
Patience – The real test is not how bad the shaking is, but how we will react when we lose the blessings.
Promise – When life gets shaken, His promises are still solid. Do we demand an explanation from Him or stand on the promises?
Perception – God is still on His throne. He is still in charge and, while things are all shook up, He is not done with you now or in the future.
Habakkuk was a prophet who had gone through a hard time. His world had been shaken by a conquering army – the Babylonians. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says with amazing clarity...
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
When things get shaken, just like Pepto-Bismol, remember that He is allowing the ingredients of life to be mixed up so you can be most effective.