Friday, January 25, 2008

God's Ways are Good

I love how God uses things we've read or seen dozens of times to affirm once again . . .

This morning, I was reading Genesis 50, and I came across a verse I've read many times. In fact, I've referred to it often when I speak or write. After Jacob died, Joseph's brothers were fearful that he'd finally take revenge on them. But he, with a sincere and loving heart--and with trust in his God--was able to say, ". . . you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good." (verse 20, NKJV)

Over the last week or so, I've heard so many stories of pain being experienced by people I know and love. Loved ones dying. Cancer invading. Finances strangling. Marriages crumbling. Health declining. Children rebelling.

These are happening to people who love and trust God.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming. Really overwhelming.

But then I read this familiar verse, and I'm reminded that God's plan is higher than my own, and even when man or the enemy of this world attempts to cause evil, God will use it for His good. He's certainly done so in my life.

I don't know where you are and what you're experiencing right now. But remember that our sovereign God is greater and more powerful than anything. And He loves you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Coming Forth as Gold

A new year is, for many of us, a time to resolve to change or to grow. In my last posting, rather than resolving to do anything new or different, I reflected on how God blessed me in 2007.

Today, I spent some time reflecting on some of the things that, at the time, didn’t seem much like blessings. Job is one of those people in the Bible with whom I often resonate. While I haven’t experienced a fraction of the suffering he did, I do relate with his cries to God. But even when he didn’t “get” what God was doing or why, he was able to trust that God was totally and lovingly in control. And he knew that the end result would be worth the suffering. Job wrote, “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (23:10, NASB)

You’re probably aware that the refining process of gold requires heat—and lots of it. If gold could feel, it would probably find the process quite painful.

If I desire to come forth as gold, I should expect pain. When I think of my daily physical pain this way and, more importantly, when I look at how God has used my pain this past year, I can sincerely thank Him for that pain.


My inability to handle my daily pain on my own has made me lean on Jesus. When I speak, I say that I frequently have to ask for God’s strength to get me through the day. I literally lift my hand and say, “Jesus, would You hold my hand just a little more tightly today.” I say those words, and I see heads nod. How God works through my pain encourages others.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m coming forth as gold. Still tarnished, but gold all the same.