We have all had something bad happen to us. I was asked a question today. “Who could benefit from hearing your testimony and what God has done in your life?” Difficult question to answer in just a few sentences. My answer? “Anyone who is right on the brink of something life-changing and that could sway them to reject God, or run to Him.
When asked the question this morning, I immediately thought of the story of Joseph in Genesis. Whether you believe the account of his life to be fact, or a great story of how good overcame evil, the principles of the story remain the same. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and later imprisoned, he quickly earned his way to Pharaoh’s right-hand man; only to later come face to face with his betrayers and be able to show them mercy and grace. What is grace? It’s obtaining something for which we did nothing to deserve it. Below is Joseph’s response to his brothers after their father’s death and they were afraid he would seek vengeance.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”Genesis 50:20, English Standard Version
What has happened in your life that was so completely devastating that you thought it would break you? What have others done to you that was so malicious, that it caused you to completely lose trust in people? Maybe it was an affair, or your spouse and parent to your children decided to walk away. Maybe it was your child who cursed you to your face and threw away everything you tried throughout their life to instill in them. Perhaps you were abandoned or neglected by a parent. Maybe it was emotional, mental, sexual, or physical abuse by someone you loved, or by a stranger. It could even be a boss who neglected your potential. I’m sure each of us has had a friend that we realized wasn’t exactly in our corner cheering us on. You and I have undoubtedly had one of the above instances happen to us. Some even more. And you know what? We will sadly have it happen to us again at some point in our lives. That’s just the truth about life.
I think perspective is everything. How we take those situations that life throws at us, will most of the time control the outcome and how long we allow it to affect us. Will it remain an open wound, or will it be a scar we can reflect back on and somehow smile? Will we allow it to dictate our present and future relationships as we build proverbial walls so we won’t get hurt again, or will we use it in a way that helps us be more real and vulnerable? That my friend is only a decision you and I can make.
God can take the most heart wrenching scenario and turn it into something beautiful. No, it doesn’t mean it is easier to go through in that moment it is happening. It doesn’t mean we jump up and down, clap, and say we are thankful for the times when we are hurt, abused, or abandoned. But it does mean that God’s hand is in everything. That He is faithful and merciful. It means that regardless of what you’re going through this very moment, there’s a reason, and that reason is so much bigger than you or I. Sometimes we may not see the birds eye view of our present situation until years later. What will you do in that moment that you’re given the opportunity to extend grace, mercy, and love?