One morning an interesting thought struck me. All our trials and sufferings fall under the umbrella of God’s protection, but beneath that covering they diverge into two areas: consequences and circumstances.
Consequences are the result of our poor choices. Sometime we just make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Sometimes God allows us to experience them in order to learn from our mistake so that we can make better choices next time. We don’t like being in this place, but we learn and grow. And our character is strengthened.
Circumstances describes those events that upon first glance seem to come out of the blue and can even seem unfair (think of Job). We did not cause the difficult situation by making poor choices and we have little to no control over it. They just happen. God allows these times to mold us, to teach us vital understanding, emotions, and spiritual lessons, which He will call upon in the future. This is when massive connections are forged between past, present, and future. These are the experiences that God often uses to minister to others and bring comfort (see 2Cor. 1).
Both sides converge together in a metaphorical handle in the shape of obedience and trust. In the middle (at the shaft) both feel the same to us, and sometimes we are unsure which side we are on. Spending time with God and in his Word is even more vital at these times.
In the end, the results are the same no matter which side we’re on, and we’ll inevitably be on both sides at various times. But we have the promise that God works for our good regardless of whether the situation is due to consequences or circumstances (Romans 8:28). We can choose to stay under the umbrella and learn what God is teaching, or stray and get extremely wet, downtrodden, and lost.
So if you’re in the rain, run back under God’s umbrella. It’s the best place to find God’s grace, mercy, and unconditional love.