Saturday, April 02, 2011

How can God bring good out of this?

I receive these daily devotionals from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Sometimes they are okay, and sometimes they are amazingly applicable to whatever is going on in my life. I read this one last week and it resounded within my life.
How Can God Bring Good Out of THIS?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Have you ever faced a personal struggle and wondered how God could possibly bring good out of it? How could Romans 8:28 apply to my hidden issues — the ones I don’t like to think about, deal with, or even admit I have?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that God could bring good out of my weight issues and food struggles, I would have seriously doubted you.I would have rolled my eyes and excused myself to the bathroom. Bathroom stalls are great places to cry in secret. When a soul is rubbed raw from years of trying and failing, you don’t want to hear, “eventually good will come from this.”

I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.
I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.
I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.
I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.

I would have cared less about some elusive, eventual good. My jeans didn’t fit. Even my sweatpants didn’t fit. I felt horrible. I couldn’t stay committed to a healthy eating plan to save my life.

And I saw no hope in sight.

It’s a terrible thing to scan the horizon and see no evidence of hope. Maybe you’ve been there with some hidden issue. Maybe you’ve been there like me with food and weight struggles. Maybe you’re there today.

Whether your issues are the same as mine or not, all of us Jesus girls have struggles. We all fall short in some way. And we all need to know more about this “good” mentioned in Romans 8:28.

But instead of a three point sermonette, I want to share with you a letter I recently received. As I read it, the mercy gates of heaven split wide open and reigned down “this working of good.”It was heaven’s salve soothing deep places in me. It is a picture of the reality of God’s Word being true. Always true. God does work for the good… in all things… every single thing... even our most raw and seemingly impossible things… but we must know it even when we don’t feel it.

“Just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles, Lysa. I’ve had an eating disorder since August,1978. Full blown anorexia, which led years down the road to bulimia. I became a Christian in 2002, but never could fully surrender my eating disorder to our Lord. Through your story and the advice you shared the Holy Spirit is empowering me as I never knew possible.
I’ve had 7 days of no binging or purging!!! This may not seem like a high number to you, but after 33 full years with this binge/purge addiction, this is AMAZING. Hallelujah!!
You shed such new light on scriptures that I have read, but never knew how to interpret in my life especially with regards to eating. I’ll be honest I figured my eating disorder wasn’t that big a deal to our Lord. In fact I had told myself that He made me this way so it must just be the sin I was born to deal with; so glad to know that it isn’t, and that I matter to HIM."– Melissa P.

As I read this, my tears leaked free.We don’t have to figure out how God will bring good, we just have to stay on the journey with Him and watch Him work. May this be a glimpse of hope in the midst of your struggles as well.

“And we know (we know it even if we don’t feel it) that in all things (even the ones we can’t even fathom being used for good) God works for the good. (He works for the good. Our job is to walk with Him day by day. His job is to work the good.)

Dear Lord, thank You for this hope. Thank You that You don’t waste our tears, our struggles, or those places rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. Once we do what You’ve instructed us to do, You always do what only You can do. I know You will bring good even when I can’t see it or feel it. And what a comfort that is to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps: Write out your struggle on the front of a 3×5 card this week and pray for the next 5 days for God to reveal some good that could come from this. Write some of the power verses on the back of your card and meditate on these truths.

Reflections: God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. God comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from Him. Is there someone in my sphere of influence who could benefit from hearing my story? Could this be some of the good God can bring from this?

Power Verses: Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

My thoughts: If you've made it all the way through what Lysa had to say, then you might be interested in my thoughts...

I've struggled repeatedly with these two issues: our finances, and my self-image as a woman. They may sound silly to you, but they have been HUGE in my life.

Our financial situation is so overwhelmingly huge, I don't know if I can explain it. When Jake had the MRSA infection in his foot, he had to make daily trips to the ER. For a week. Which means a thousand dollars a day. And then our insurance refused to pay for it. So we owe the hospital around 10 thousand dollars. Plus our students loans. Plus some other smaller bills. And we just keep adding bills... It feels like we are at the bottom of a pit that we will never be able to climb out of no matter how hard we try.

The woman thing has to do with my calling into ministry, which really probably doesn't matter any more. I haven't served in ministry full time in about 5 years. I was called by God into ministry when I was 18. I am very sure of the call, 'cuz I DID NOT want it. I pretty much told God no way, and HE dragged me down the aisle. I had the joy of working actively in my Baptist Campus Ministries, then at seminary, and then as a worship minister. I never really questioned what God had planned for me as a woman. I was just doing what He had put in front of me.
Until we got a pastor who told me that God would never have called me to do what I was doing because I was a woman. That I was stealing from my husband. That I was forcing/pushing/asserting myself into a role God did not give me. Which has turned my world upside down. And has damaged my relationship with God...

Can God bring good out of these issues? I don't see how. They are so big that they almost seem out of God's control. Which is impossible. God is bigger and more powerful than anything. Than my problems. Than my debt. Than our living situation. Than our health issues.

He can bring good out of all things. I know this. I have seen this in day to day issues, in insurmountable health issues. In fact, I would go so far as to say that's God's speciality- bring good out of evil.

No comments: