What Good Can Come of This?

1:41 PMHeather

I can hardly find words. I've wrestled with some big unfulfilled dreams for years now.  Lately, I've felt God asking me to embrace where he has me and trust his plans.  If he hasn't opened a different door, then I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Writing is part of who I am.  So I blog.  Yet can easily feel it's not enough.  But I do it out of obedience.

Oh, it's enough. If you ever wonder if God is listening, he is. 

Because I blogged yesterday out of obedience.  Again.  And since then, I've gotten some mind blowing and incredible texts and calls letting me know that God was indeed allowing me to take his dictation for those who need to hear from him. 

God is telling me that he is moving and using me.  And he is deeply concerned for the details of the pains of those who read this.  

Which prompted me to share this today.  It's a story from years ago. But if you wonder WHAT GOOD CAN COME OF THIS? Then, please read on.  Hear my own story.  And hear your Father declare that he intends to use for good that which others intend for evil.

The following blog post is my modified essay, originally published in Cook Communication's "Groovy Chicks Road Trip to Peace" book by Dena Dyer and Laurie Barker Copeland, in 2005.

There I was.  Six months pregnant on a family ski trip, planned long before the big surprise of our third child. I decided to take the opportunity to enjoy the quiet of the hotel room, whilst everyone else enjoyed skiing in the beautiful sunshine. Everyone else including my two little boys, who were then four and two years old. They were spending the day in ski school.  And my tired, pregnant self enjoyed a long cup of coffee, still sitting in pajamas.

I tried to concentrate on reading my Bible, but got quickly distracted.  So I turned on the television and began to channel surf. Boom.  There she was.  Beth Moore on the television, saying something that made me stop in my tracks.  Because it was nearly verbatim the exact sentence that had been rolling around my brain since I had read it five days before.  In my Beth Moore Bible study at church.

"God cannot be God of the 'is to come' in our life until he has become the Lord of 'what was'."

God had my full attention.

God had been dealing with me about my past for months at that point.  For nearly a year, every sermon topic, Sunday School class or Bible study seemed to address moving through past hurts.  It was obviously time to listen up and learn.  Once and for all.

Like many people, I had been hurt by those I held most dear, the people who were supposed to love and care for me.  For many years, I had struggled with feeling worthless, rejected, bitter and angry.  I had been the queen of my pity party, justifying my anger and wallowing in my poor, unfortunate circumstances. 

At times, the pain had been great enough to inhibit my daily functioning.  The anger and fear of being hurt again had caused me to build a wall and made me quick to push off relationships before I could get hurt again.  I had bought the lie--that I was damanged goods--hook, line and sinker. 

It was time for a change.

As soon as Beth Moore finished speaking, I turned off the television and grabbed my Bible and prayer journal.  In the silence of the hotel room, I began to consider all my past hurts, taking careful inventory of the issues that needed to be laid to rest.  My mind went back through two decades and numerous conversations, assumptions and encounters.  I wrote them all down, facing my struggles head on.

Then, God gave me eyes to see the pieces of the puzzle and how they all fit together.  He reminded me that he was there in the middle of each painful circumstance.  We went through each hurt together, one by one, as I prayed and journaled.  I was challenged to accept, by faith, that the Lord was there in the middle of it all and that he had never abandoned me.  I had to acknowledge that fact, believing and trusting that he desired his best for me.

And I had to choose.  Would those hurts define me or refine me? Who did I want to be--a victim dragging around my baggage, hoping to evoke everyone's attention and sympathy?  Or a victorious overcomer who finds fulfillment knowing that God has my best interests at heart?  Will I try to get sympathy and live in self-pity or be freed to grant others compassion?

Finally, I sat back, exhausted by the mental and emotional exercise, and I looked out the window.  

I saw the pristine, white snow, nearly glowing and sparkling with the midday sunshine of early spring. Huge banks of untouched powder appeared perfect, without a trace of a single footprint.  They were pretty to look at but not at all useful.  Being unable to calculate their depth, no one wanted to venture there.  

Juts a few yards away lay the path the hotel guests took from the hotel to the ski lift.  Frequent use had beaten it down.  It may not have looked as pretty and perfect as the snowbanks, with all the mud and grime.  But more importantly, it was a useful pathway for hundreds of people a day.

It's the picture of my life.

Without the pain I'd been through, I was like the snowbanks. Their depths were unknown, and my usefulness to God had been questionable, regardless of how I might have appeared on the outside.  Like the crushing footsteps that pushed down the snow to create a useful path, my pain had served the same purpose in my life.

My circumstances have packed down my pride, selfishness and lack of fortitude.  I'd learned the depth of my coping skills, a new measure of God's strength, and most importantly, I'd learned that people will always fail to meet my every expectations.  Instead of being constantly disappointed in others, I can choose to see their shortcomings as a reminder of God's faithfulness in contrast.  I can be assured that he will always exceed my expectations.

And most importantly, I can choose to be thankful for the painful moments that can now allow me to be used by God.

When I had boarded that plane for Utah, I had hoped the trip would be a retreat from my daily grind.  Little did I know it would bring a permanent vacation from emotional baggage and a lasting escape from the grind of a painful past.  I had no idea that God would reveal the good that can come of the things that I had despised.

That day and ever since that day now eleven years ago, I have a choice to make.  Embrace being a useful path?  Or long for being a pristine snowbank?

Let me assure you, there in your suffering and pain. God is still moving.  God is still at work.  And God intends to redeem even your awful and horrific pain by using them for a purpose. Whatever you are facing, you will be uniquely positioned to minister to others and help them along.  Our God is good.  Our God is faithful.  And he brings purpose and buys back even the destruction by allowing it become a place of ministry.  A place where you discover the strength of God to face the darkest days.  And the sufficiency of God, day by day, to endure when your world comes crashing down.

You are being held.  There in your circumstance.  And in the hands of our Father, he can bring good.  Even from all that is bad. 

Let go.  Just let him hold you.  In his righteous right hand.

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