I read this nugget of information this morning in my bible study and it simply is too true. It also helps us to understand when horrible things happen, that God could be using those things to help push us closer towards Him. What refreshing news. Seriously. I've seen it happen in my own life many many times.
With God, things are both predictable and unpredictable. You can be certain that God is always going to be there. That God always wants you to pray and to stay in His word. You can be certain that God wants you to look at the best in others, even though it's tempting to just see the worst.
In my bible study this morning it took a look at Peter and John and how God called them to Samaria. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Peter and John are Jews. Jews of that time hated Samaritans. They have a HUGE prejudice against them and basically feel they are the scum of the earth. To be called to go there and the preach the Gospel and to accept them into their own fold seemed unthinkable. Yet, God called them to do it. They obeyed and the Samaritans accepted the Holy Spirit. Think if they didn't obey? What would have happened? The people would have not known not received the Holy Spirit. They would have not received the very Holy fire from which God works in us.
I firmly believe that God has called me and my husband to be missionaries. Where or how, that is His choosing. Could he call us to a place where we wouldn't ever think of going? Yes. Could this place be our Samaria? Yes. Are we called to pick and choose where we'd like to go, where it'd be the most comfortable and convenient? No. We are called to follow Christ, wherever that may lead us. If it leads us to a closed country, we'll go there. If it leads us to witness to homeless, we'll go there. If it leads us to a place where we thought we'd never go, we'll go there.
The important thing to remember is that in these places, we are not alone. Yes God could call us to a scary place or neighborhood, but we are not alone. We have Christ. We have the Holy Spirit living within us. I've seen time and time again how God has protected me wherever he's called me. I was called to serve the homeless in San Francisco's darkest neighborhood for a little while one summer. I spoke with drug addicts, prostitutes, drug dealers and I do believe a gang member or two.
Were these conditions safe? No. Were they comfortable? No. Was I safe? Yes. Was I comfortable? I didn't really think of comfort. When I was with those people, my thoughts were solely on Christ and on serving Him. Christ protected me AND gave me the words to say to those who were hurting. As long as I trusted Him, I was safe. When I let my mind wander and let my fear set in and stopped trusting, that was the moment I felt unsafe. I had to pray and reign in that fear, rebuke it even, to feel safe and secure again. Life outside of Christ is scary, I much prefer life with Christ.
But you can see how God can use our fears, our prejudices to really work miracles through us. To speak to others and heal by the power of the Holy Spirit using us. We just have to be willing to be used and to give up our fears.
So what does this have to do with the quote up above? Everything. God can use anyone and any circumstances for His glory. We just have to continue to walk in the light of grace to be willing to see that when the going gets tough, the tough don't get going away, they get on their knees and pray for the endurance to carry on and to see what God is teaching them through the hard times. That's definitely something to remember and to pray about!
For me, one of the hardest times in my life was losing my first precious little one. I was so elated and excited to be pregnant. It's something I'd dreamed about for a long time. I'd even gathered some baby items years prior to this because I knew God would allow me to be pregnant someday. We went to Idaho and served at an aviation camp and I led worship. We went to Hawaii and go to see our dear friends. Life was going great! I got to see my little one's heart beating on the ultrasound and was elated at the new life. Then, tragedy happened and my little one was no more. God took him/her up to heaven. I was devastated. Devastated. Why would God take away my child? Why would this dream end so soon?
I realized that even though I was devastated, to understand the reasoning, I needed to turn to Christ EVEN MORE, not turn away. God led me to talk with others who had also had this happen to them. God led me to council THEM and by that helped heal me of my own tragedy. I couldn't have done this had I been pregnant. Later on in that year God finally allowed me to become a teacher for a short time. If I was pregnant, I wouldn't have ever lived that dream. While I still dream about seeing that little one in heaven and wondering what life would be like had he/she lived on, I praise God for allowing it to happen to me so that I could reach more people for Him. Now I have a beautiful little girl, so God did fulfill that promise of life. It was just in HIS timing, not mine.
I want to encourage those of you who read this blog to think about times in your life where you had the most sorrow, the most pain, and think about what God was teaching you in those times. Did you allow God to grow you? Did you allow God to teach you something from that experience? Did God have you go through that experience so that He could use you to help others who were also going through that experience? I hope so.
Love in Christ,
2 Corinthians 5:16-17.