Conformed or Transformed?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect.
Romans 12:2

When you go through times of disappointment or heartache or stress, it's tempting to doubt God. To wonder why He didn't "fix this" like you asked or to wish He would step in and use His power to "set things right" or to whine that He would let "whatever" happen.

This verse has some help for that.

And it has some help for parent-pain, which, if you haven't experienced it, let me assure you that you have missed the deepest, most grievous anguish that can ever be felt. The agony of not only watching your child hurt but especially the helplessness of not being able to remedy it is gut-wrenching.

It happens from the time they are preschoolers all the way through adulthood. And my own Mom tells me it is exponentially so when it's your grands. Oh my. I cannot bear the thought.

Maybe Jonathan and Mary Alice and Lucy should wear warning labels that announce to teachers and friends that they have these women in their family....
I digress...
Back to the verse.
Back to the help of being victorious in the midst of pain...


Starting with the last part and working our way backwards -

This verse tells us that God's will is good and acceptable and perfect. I looked up those words that we translate from the original Greek:

Good - benevolent, profitable, useful
Acceptable - pleasing, agreeable
Perfect -complete, meeting the need

From this passage, we might be tempted to swallow hard and say, oh, ok, so whatever happens I should just suck it up because "it's God's will" so I have to say that all is well. No matter what it feels like.

No. That's not it.

Some things that happen are NOT OK.  We hurt. Suffer loss. Injustices. From the wrong motives and actions of others. Sometimes from our own sinful selves. But some things are NOT OK.

So what does this verse tell us?

The key is in learning what "God's Will" means.

It's a Greek word,"thelema", that is translated as "will of God". Since Scripture also makes it very plain that God is absolutely sovereign and that nothing thwarts His purpose (Job 42:2 and Isaiah 14:27), we might conclude that we just have to toughen up and get with the program. Even when hard things happen.

But "thelema" means  "inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy."  In this verse, the meaning signifies His gracious disposition towards His people.

Which means that, when hard things happen, we have two choices:

To see them through a lens that has been conformed to the way the world sees things

or

To see them through a lens that has been transformed supernaturally by thinking the way Christ thinks

One view is distorted and near-sighted. It brings confusion and anger and distrust. Because life never turns out exactly like we would orchestrate it if we were in charge. And that stings.

The other view is different. This view accepts that "in this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33) but it also embraces that our Sovereign God is accomplishing His great purpose with it. His glory....and our good.

He IS indeed all powerful.
And NOTHING can prevent His plan from unfolding.

And His purpose towards His people is blessing.

Even in the face of pain or disappointment or injustice.

He promises.

But in order to believe that, we have to be transformed.

And that requires having our minds renewed.

Which means changing how we think.

About everything that happens to us.

Friend, I don't know what you're facing right now. I don't know if all is peachy keen in your life or if you're in the midst of a fiery trial. Maybe someone you love is hurting and no solution is in sight. Maybe you or one of yours is staring down an intense disappointment or  loss.

If you're in one of those tough spots, I'll wager that you've been tempted to feel sorry for yourself or to be angry at God or at least to wonder what went wrong to land you in this place.
I'm asking you to renew your mind with truth.
To think about things the way God instructs us to.
To look at things through His transforming lens.

His will towards us is blessing.
His purpose towards us is grace. And life. And joy.

Don't let the world tell you anything different.