"Praise the Lord" seems to be a favorite evangelical phrase. Things are going well for a new venture of ours? Praise the Lord, we say. Our church is growing? Praise the Lord, we say. We hear of fruitful ministries around the world? Praise the Lord, we say.
Things go horribly wrong? "God is still in control," we say.
(I bet you can see where this is headed. Oh, brother, another generic blog post about praising God in adversity. Well, hang with me.)
God moves in His own ways, in His own time, on His own terms. He accomplishes all He wishes in and through us, and often, in spite of us. I think it would do us all good to (perhaps forcefully) learn that God can do all this without us, specifically. That is, none of us are indispensable. And while the Lord chooses to work with us, specifically, there is nothing by any means binding him to do so.
Why is it, when things are going so well, we sort of lackadaisically say "Oh, cool, PTL," and while things are going so wrong, we feel we have to remind ourselves that "God is still on His throne?" Of course He is still on His throne. It's madness to think that every good circumstance comes from God but every bad one is somehow acting on its own volition. He is still on His throne, and He is not passively sitting there smiling down as we struggle through our adversity! He is not even merely "coming alongside us to help;" He is actively and omnisciently using the bad circumstance to shape us into the image of Christ!"
I know it is wrong for anyone to claim "God has tempted me (x)," but must we misattribute every uncomfortable circumstance to some unspecific force outside of God and His perfect will? I wish I could be more aware of the Spirit moving when life is cute and happy, but just like most of the populace, God's work becomes much more apparent to me during the hard times.
Here I could note half a dozen examples about how things can only become strong after facing adversity--such as gold in the fire, trees in the wind, diamonds in the rough--but I won't bore you with illustrations you've no doubt already heard and carefully considered. Think of this, though: would it seem strange to you if at every piece of good news someone calmly reassured you, "God is still in control," but at every bad piece he ecstatically cried, "Praise the Lord!"? God is at work, now and forever, and in time He will fashion us all in His perfect image.