NOTHING IS WASTED
Today's Scripture: “But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10, ESV
Theme: Even when we don’t understand, God can bring purpose and good out of pain and evil.
WRESTLING WITH GOD
I’ve written many times about my journey with infertility, our concurrent ectopic pregnancies, and how that season of my life made me question everything I thought I knew about God. Our culture is saturated with the prosperity gospel which tells us that everything good that happens to us is a sign that God is pleased with us, and everything bad that happens is a sign of His disapproval. I was among the many millions of people who bought into that lie, and I remember begging God to tell me why I deserved the pain of losing so many babies in such a dramatic and painful way.
I wrestled with God. Just as Jacob demanded a blessing, I demanded that God prove His love to me. It was so clear to me that a loving God wouldn’t harm me the way I had been harmed. I needed God to explain Himself. If He expected me to stay in Him, I needed Him to be more than I thought He was. I am here today, writing this devotion to you, because God showed up for me in that dark place, and He wept with me when I was ready to walk away. He loved me through my hurt.
MY STORY ISN’T OVER
I have told my story more times than I can possibly count. I have held the hands of miscarrying mothers, and hugged dads who wanted to fix it but couldn’t. I have gone into the dark places and wept with women who didn’t deserve the pain of losing their already-cherished babies. And in the intervening years between my ectopic pregnancies and today, I have learned something: what was once a source of searing pain in my life, God has redeemed. My story was not over – and still isn’t – and God has given me the privilege of encouraging women and letting them know that their story isn’t over, either. God works all things together for our good – even things that were meant to harm us.
It feels like such an empty platitude to say that God can use your suffering for good, but consider this: God took the greatest tragedy to ever befall the world – the horrific injustice perpetrated against Jesus on the cross -- and He worked the ultimate outcome for the good of us all. There is a spectrum of hope and despair. If God can move a moment in history from one extreme end of the spectrum to the complete opposite end, can He not also upend and restore the atrocious things that happen in in our lives? He can, He does, and He will.
I read somewhere once that “It all turns out okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” It has helped me to hold that thought close because it’s also a biblical truth. When you are in the middle of a tragedy, let yourself wrestle with the Lord. He’s strong enough. Just as Jesus asked for the cup to pass from Him, we can ask God to relieve our suffering. And just as God did not intervene in that moment in the Garden of Gethsemane, He may not immediately intervene for you.
We’re allowed to ask why, but we’re not entitled to an answer. We’re allowed to be angry, but we can’t live there forever. Suffering will come. We don’t get to choose how or why we suffer, but we have a choice about what we will do with our suffering when it inevitably shows up at our doorstep. Let the Redeemer redeem your story. It may not be the testimony you wanted, but God will be glorified in it – for your good – if you’ll let Him have it.
Make it Personal: The redemptive process isn’t possible without a place from which to be redeemed. When we experience tragedy, the subsequent “emerging” is a place of renewal. We can let God work the redemptive process in us and, whatever He chooses to do with our pain, we can be confident in this: He didn’t cause our suffering, but He won’t let it go to waste.
Pray: Lord, I thank You that You let nothing in my life go to waste. Take my pain, take my sorrow, take my tragedy, and let the broken places in my life be conduits for Your redeeming love and Your infinite mercy. Let my story be a light of Hope for me and for others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9
Weekly Memory Verse:
“I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:5-6, NLT