In my last post, I Have a Cold, I stated: “I am eternally thankful for all God has given me, no matter how horrific it got or for however long, because I know He was right there with me and He keeps giving me opportunities to use those times to lift others up”. It is important to understand that in saying this, I am not saying I wanted to live this life of abuse and betrayal. If I could have chosen, I would have been loved and cherished by my husband as well as those in my family and extended family who didn’t. It was and is awful. However, being thankful for the hard times is different from being happy about the bad times.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Let me explain. The above verse is something Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery. They then made it look like he was killed because they were jealous of their father’s love for Joseph. Joseph went on to rise to the top position of his master’s household only to be falsely accused of molesting his master’s wife, thrown in jail and forgotten. After several years in jail, he was remembered by a former cellmate for his ability to interpret dreams . This earned him the position of second in command under Pharaoh, where he was able to save the people from a horrible famine. He was even able to save his family.
Joseph had some really horrific times in his life. I am sure he wasn’t exactly thrilled to go through those hard times, but he remained faithful to God, seeking Him in everything despite Joseph’s circumstances. No matter where he ended up, he did his best at whatever he was given to do. God brought beauty from Joseph’s hard times. God took every horrible circumstance and worked them for good to save many lives. According to the Scripture from above, Joseph was able to see the beauty God made all of it. From what he states, he was able to save many lives because of what happened to him and not in spite of what happened to him.
I am now seeing that even though I’m still working through the pain and fallout from everything that was said and done, I am able to speak (or write) into others’ lives. I’m able to give voice to the abuse others have experienced, help them know they’re not alone and that the abuse had nothing to do with them. Abuse is always the abusers’ fault and problem. I’m able to tell them that they are valued, worthy and loved. This is especially important for those who have been, and are, abused to hear because they have been told repeatedly they are none of these things. I realize I am able to do this because of what I’ve been through and not in spite of it. So, in this way, I am thankful for the hard times. God is using them for good. Even if I am not physically saving lives, I pray I am bringing some hope. I also pray that I can speak Truth into their lives, pointing them to the One Who really can save their lives and I cling to the hope He can bring to their lives.
I am thankful for the hard times. Can you find a reason to say the same about your life?
~ Joanna Lynn