“Sometimes God allows us to get to a place that He is all we have, to show us that He is all we need.”
That was a very hard truth I had to share with our daughter as she went back to UGA for her senior year. We had a great summer together compared to the summer before which was, for a lack of better words, the “summer from hell.” Looking back…over the previous year…even though the events in her life caused deep wounds which will leave scars forever, a remnant of pain or sting for a lifetime, we all can see God’s hand in her life. It is only when we look back that we can see God preparing her to fulfill His designed plan for her life.
Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
As I look beyond the “charred past,” I see sprouts of “green life” starting to emerge….lifelong friends made from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic last spring; a realization that golf can be fun again; a lesson learned on how to treat people in devastating times by the example of some dear friends; a true understanding of “what Satan meant for evil, God can use for good;” and how to truly forgive and move on.
Unforgiveness is a self-imposed prison…forgiveness frees you to move on and leave the offender in God’s hands.
I love studying the life of Joseph. I have pointed to his story in the Bible so many times with all of our children and applied it to myself and others I have mentored. Joseph didn’t automatically become a “prominent ruler” in charge of kingdoms….which eventually would save his entire family and others…until he experienced “pits,” “chains” and “prison.” If you study his life, there were multiple times he experienced “fires with burns” by people. As I look at Joseph, I am certain that more than once through life’s circumstances, each one building on the other, he matured and was refined and groomed to be used by God.
I have come to the realization that to be “putty in God’s hands,” to truly be shaped and used by Him, you, at some point, get over yourself. You are then taken to the place that “God is all you need, not man!” We see this clearly when Joseph says to his brothers who feared the repercussions of their actions, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
Do you see the reverence and rightful place God has in Joseph’s life when he says to his brothers, “Am I in the place of God?” That one sentence speaks volumes to me about where the pits, chains, and prisons had taken Joseph and his view of God. It is clear Joseph was saying, “God is God and I am not!” and “Not my will but yours God.”
IF you find yourself in the “pit,” or
IF you are walking forward but glancing over your shoulder at “smoldering charred ground in your life,”
I encourage you to take heart….God is God….IF you love Him and He is Lord of your life…He doesn’t waste anything in your life…He uses it…to shape and refine you for Good works which He planned in advanced.
We can’t choose the path to get there…God chooses that…but we can trust HIM. When He allows us to get to the place that we know HE is all we need…it gives us “tunnel vision,” a “ONE-on-ONE focus that tunes our ears and eyes to the only One that matters, HIM.
Look for God’s hand in everything…if your are currently in the pit…allow Him to be “all you need”. It doesn’t mean the days aren’t hard. It doesn’t mean it won’t take time. But take your eyes off of man–their opinions, attitudes and actions–seek God’s face and direction for the next step. He holds your future. Trust that pits, chains and prisons may be caused by man…but the very breath of God is capable of turning:
pits into parades,
chains into character, and
prisons into palaces.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Keep praying. Keep seeking. Let me end with a portion of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the new temple. 2 Chronicles 6:29-30, “and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of their afflictions and pains, and spreading out their hands toward this temple—then hear from heaven, your dwelling place…you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart).”