Can Circumstances be Holy? by Jessica Van Roekel



Recently I felt like my life came to a screeching halt when I heard the news of a life changing diagnosis for a dear friend.  Not long ago, I was overcome by drama as mothers of teenagers often are. I fight for bravery in the face of the unknowns of my future. Will things be okay? Where is God in all my wonderings?


Jesus said that I will have trouble in this life and life has proven this to be true. But there is a theme that began in the Old Testament and has continued to be woven into the New. It’s one of the many threads that tie the two testaments together and it is this: The Lord will be with you.


Joshua 1:9: ‘The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’


John 14:26: ‘But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’


Hebrews 13:5: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’


Beth Moore writes in Believing God: ‘Faith is never the denial of reality. It is belief in a greater reality. In other words, the truth may be that you are presently surrounded by terrifying or terribly discouraging circumstances. The reason you don’t have to buckle to fear and discouragement is the presence of God in the midst of your circumstances.’


I have buckled in fear and discouragement. I have thought that having faith meant not recognizing my crappy circumstances for what they are: crappy. I have allowed my circumstances to dictate my present.


If things are good I skip along in the meadow with golden sunlight reflecting off my head as I gather bouquets of blessings to my heart.  Sometimes it seems as though the birdsong is just for me. Things sparkle and shimmer and shine. God must be with me.


If things are bad I might throw myself to the ground in a childish temper tantrum. Or I trudge along grudgingly holding back the truest expression of my heart. Or I decide that since the sunshine and flowers are gone, then God must be gone, too.


My circumstances don’t have to dictate my awareness of God’s presence in my life.


Yes—I can feel the happiness of my circumstances and I can and should feel the sadness over my not so great circumstances. It’s okay to feel and to express ourselves. The Psalms are a great place to learn how to do this.


However, I don’t have to wait until my circumstances change to encounter God. I can encounter him in the moment by moment minutia of my days. But am I aware of his presence? Sometimes I am too busy enjoying the good life to acknowledge him and sometimes I am too angry to see his hand.


When I invite God into my circumstances, I am immediately in the presence of the Holy God and therefore my circumstances—whether they be good or bad—become a holy place. Think this through. Anytime we encounter God—we experience his holy presence.


The circumstances may not become holy, but God’s Holy Presence fills the circumstances and when I am surrounded by his Holy Presence I surrender to him. I recognize that the place where I am standing is Holy Ground.  I take off my shoes, fall in worship and follow him as he becomes commander of the army as he and I fight our way through the circumstance.


It’s so tempting to be crushed by circumstances I would rather not be involved in.


It’s tempting to leave God behind when my circumstances are full of blessings.


This is what I am learning: God is where I am. He is here with me whether I am facing good and beautiful things or hard and stressful things. And where he is—is holy.


Let’s stand strong together—facing our terrifying and terribly discouraging circumstances—aware that God is holding us up, promising to be with us, no matter the outcome.



Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at  and on Facebook:


One thought on “Can Circumstances be Holy? by Jessica Van Roekel

  1. Pingback: Can Circumstances by Holy? | welcome grace

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