The Tyranny of Our Circumstances

In one of the commentaries on the book of Philippians the author uses the phrase, “the tyranny of circumstances.” Tyranny is the rule of a tyrant or dictator, and there are plenty of them at every level of society in this world! But my mind kept mulling that phrase over and over, and I thought about it on an everyday level, and my illustration of how that works is “close to home.”


For the last few weeks I have been spending my nights in bed, on the couch, on the floor, and mostly in a recliner. I put more pressure on my right leg since the broken bones in my left foot are held together with metal, and my sciatic nerve has had it! So, it is dictating to me how I sleep…or don’t sleep… by the pain that travels from my back all the way down my leg. I am not alone in this! I have met quite a few people lately that suffer from the same thing. That pain has been a tyrant, keeping me from work around the house, weakening my resolve to finish some devotionals I have started, and affecting my normally sociable disposition! Now that I am on the upswing I have been thinking about how our circumstances can easily detour us, paralyze us or take our focus away from where it should be.

So, these are my thoughts. According to Scripture whether God allows or sends these circumstances that disrupt our lives in a mild way or very serious way, He wants to use them in His process of making us what He wants us to be. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6) That was what Paul told the Christians in Philippi who were so dear to him, and then there is David’s statement in Ps. 138:8; “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.” Read what Job has to say in chapter 10 of his book. He was suffering and bitterly saying how he felt, but he knew as all of us should know if we have been born again for any length of time that as Ephesians 2 says, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,” and God works through the variety of ALL of our situations to achieve the ultimate goal of His glory and our good.

We all like our lives to be on an even keel, but much of the time that brings complacency and a taking for granted the goodness of God. Crisis brings change not only to governments but to all of us. We may not be able to avoid the tyranny of our circumstances, they have to dictate our actions sometimes, but we can ask God what it is all about, and count our blessings. That is an attitude changer! One last thought: Romans 8:28 is the absolute truth; “all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose,” but I am aware that sometimes the good that comes out of a bad situation is simply what we have learned that has drawn us closer to the Saviour.