He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. Psalm 62:6 (GNT)

When something fantastic happens we say God was in it. When prayers are answered we say God is a great God who answers prayer. When healings happen we marvel at his power. When things seem to be going our way we thank him for his love and watch care over us.

But what about the other times? What do we say when the prayers seem unanswered, the bills aren’t miraculously paid, the doctors report isn’t good, the judge goes against us? What do we say when the house is foreclosed on or the boss gives us a pink slip?

It’s a natural human tendency to measure the greatness of God by our own personal comfort level. When things are going our way, we say we are blessed. But it’s hard to stare bankruptcy or foreclosure or terminal illness in the face and say we are blessed. It’s hard when a judge makes a decision that will negatively affect the lives of our children and say ‘God is good’ and really mean it.

Society has an answer to our dilemma. It tells us we are on our own. We need to band together, support each other, and pour money into this program or that program to make sure everyone is educated, research is done and protection is granted. Problem is money hasn’t solved any issues lately. We’ve made great strides in the medical community to cure a variety of illnesses, but people still get sick and die. We have more and more government intervention to make life ‘safer’ and it’s still a dangerous world we live in.

Religion tells us that when things are going good, God is pleased and full of love for us. Religion also tells us that when things are going bad it is because God is angry. When God is angry he sends illness and natural disasters and evil dictatorships. Religion says that if we follow more rules and have more faith and speak louder against evil God will change his ways and make our lives comfortable again.

So what is the right answer? How do we respond when things seem against us? Part of the problem is that we often mistake consequences for God’s lack of protection. Grace teaches us that the penalty of our sinful lifestyle was paid for on the cross. In God’s eyes we are made righteous (perfect) from a spiritual perspective. He promises us that he will be with us in everything we go through.

What we aren’t promised is that the consequences of our own mistakes won’t have to be served out on earth. Sometimes God allows us to suffer the earthly consequences of our actions in order to help us grow stronger. He promises to protect us but consequences of our refusal to listen will remain.

For example, let’s say a young man and woman (both Christ followers) make a mistake and she ends up getting pregnant. Will God forgive them of their mistake (sin)? The answer is yes, of course. Will they have a baby? Yep, probably. We don’t like to think of that beautiful young life as a consequence of course, but it is, and both of them will have that reminder to carry with them.

Here is a nugget of truth to carry with you as you endure the consequences of your actions. The same God who is with you to bless you is the same God who will walk with you through the consequences of your bad choices. He still forgives. He still walks with you hand in hand. He still reaches out his arms and says, ‘I love you more than anything.’

Even in the consequences we endure God tells us “I am your protection. I will defend you. I will walk with you along the way and together we will NEVER be defeated.

PRAYER: Father God, I find myself in a situation I can’t get out of. I confess to you that the consequences I face are of my own doing. I have no one to blame but myself. Forgive me for the decisions I made to get me in this situation. If by your mercy you choose to remove the consequences I thank you for your deliverance. If, by your grace you choose to have me go through this, I praise you for your presence. In Jesus name, Amen.