And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [Rom 8:28 ESV]
I believe I mentioned before that I spend time in prayer Tuesday and/or Wednesday on what this portion of the weekly email should be…if I haven’t mentioned it…you’re now informed. This week I found myself with a couple of things bouncing around in my head, so was praying to discern which…if any…was the one I should write about. Wednesday morning is also early morning discipleship. One of the guys in the group was sharing his, awesome, account of how God had been good to him earlier this week.
This led to a discussion on our ability to see God at work through the good and the ‘bad’ things going on in our lives…as well as the timing of when we see the ‘why’ of it all. My friend saw, in this case, near immediate response. Yet, someone like Joseph (Genesis 37-50) had to wait over ten years to see the ‘why’ of what happened to him.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [Gen 50:20 ESV]
That led to my sharing some details from 2001 (a rough year personally). One particular event, though not evil, was still a poorly handled situation that God used to pave the way for coming to Crossroads. So, I shared, God used this “bad” event for good.
Fast forward a few minutes (and a little setup)…I was in my car heading into work. God seems to do a lot of work on me during my commute time, sometimes I listen…this was one of those sometimes. Doing Read Scripture, I came to a serious slow down when I hit Job…I’ve spent the last few weeks soaking in that book (yes I’m behind in my daily reading).
Back to the story…God hit me right between the eyes…I had shared how wrong the other party was, back in 2001, in handling this event. What I had NEVER considered before was perhaps they were following God’s direction in what they did. Maybe they prayed, and God told them not to help out…maybe they were confused but obedient? This party had hurt me a few months earlier, and I could have let my filters…okay, let’s be honest here I DID let my filters color my outlook. I believe I had forgiven them by this time, but trust hadn’t been rebuilt…and I went right to the lack of trust response….they are being “mean” by not helping.
Could they have been being mean? Sure. Could they have been following God’s direction? Sure. I don’t know, didn’t ask…went right to “fine be that way” huffiness. That’s sort of what Job’s three friends did….I guess I’m Eliphaz the Temanite, he was the oldest of the group…so seems to fit. “Comforting” Job by accusing him of hidden sin and not considering any other alternative. For my situation…I placed myself as judge and jury, without consideration of God’s part in what had happened.
God did use that event; it was the trigger that made coming to Crossroads possible and with His blessing. He’s used that event for so much good in my life, my daughter’s life, my wife’s life… But now I do have to alter my story a bit…I’m not sure if it was a “good” or “bad” thing from that other party…I do know my reaction was on the “bad” side. So God still showed He could use painful, hurtful, “bad” things in our lives and use them for good. We just, sometimes, are the author of the “bad.”
We all need to check our filters. Where do we let our expectations, our hurts, or our wants color our reactions to others…are we like the three “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2)…judging everyone by OUR filters, or are we willing to allow God to be God in ALL things and look to see Him at work in ALL things around us.
Oh…by the way…He did answer my prayer on what to put in this week’s email.
Then Job answered and said: “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? [Job 16:1-3 ESV]