Finding the Good in the Bad

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine.”  1 Peter 1:6-7

 

I would love to gain wisdom, maturity and relationships without going through a trial or bad situation.  Good things come from good situations and only bad comes from bad situations.  It only makes sense, right?

 

Recently, my community had the asphalt completely torn out and redone.   You could not park or stow your car in the garage because of the conditions of the street.  For one week, you had to find parking in the other parts of the complex or on the main streets.  Parking was already at a premium, so for an average of 25 more cars finding parking, it was a nightmare.

 

An interesting thing happened through the inconvenience, people got to know one another in the community.  There is one elderly woman in our neighborhood and she has a dog that she walks all the time.  She told me, if it weren’t for this situation, I never would have met all these new people!  As I walked my dog, I watched neighbors talk and smile and laugh at their complaints.  Most of these people have lived in the same community for decades and never met.

 

In more serious situations, I can recall instances where tragedy struck and people came together.  Whether it was September 11th or all the tragedies this year in 2017.  People saving complete strangers, giving shelter or supplies to one another.  They opened their hearts and moved past their differences, they saw a human being.  Upon tragic deaths, foundations have been created in memory of a person after their death.   Their family members take the tragedy to teach or bring awareness.

 

Grief is real and I never want to discount losing someone or a family home.  The fact is anger and sadness are all a part of the process.  However, at some point there has to be a shift to focus on the good things that come from tragedy.  Otherwise, the pain will consume your very being.  

 

God will never waste your pain.  Let God heal your pain and learn from the experiences, no matter how painful.

 

Lesson Learned:  Good can come from bad situations.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, heal our wounds from tragic events.  Show us ways to help one another in troubled times.  Give us strength to endure such things and a heart for others.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

It’s Not About Me

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

 

Our relationship with Jesus is a personal one.  Jesus pursues us deeply.  He is always trying to meet us daily.  When we actually focus, we can see it and it fills all the emptiness in our lives.  However, when we hear from the Lord, it may not be a specific message for us, but for others.

 

There are times when I pursue God and hope to hear a specific word for my life.  I have been to conferences at different churches, where there are evangelists and pastors speaking and teaching.  There was one specific gathering where there was a pastor blessed with a prophetic and discerning gift.

 

In the past, I have been to two of  his gatherings.  At both of them, he called me up and spoke these amazing words over me.  So, in anticipation and expectation, I was hoping for it to happen again.

 

Before the sermon began, we had a time of worship.  One of my friends came over and stood next to me.  I felt the Lord gave me a vision for her.  I saw an old vase cracking and break a part.  Then, she came out of the vase, ever so beautiful (and she already is a beautiful woman).  The Holy Spirit continued to give me words of encouragement for her life.  I told her and hoped they would give her strength.

The service begun.  The pastor began to speak encouragement and prophesy over some of the people there at the service.  Lives were being changed as the Holy Spirit moved.  The service ended without him saying anything specific over me.  I was jealous, upset and angry.  Not something you hope to feel after witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

As the days continued, I felt more depressed.  I knew it was because I was still upset, there wasn’t a word for me.  There was a young woman, at this same meeting,  where the pastor spoke  over her life that matched exactly what I would have wanted to hear of my life.  But I knew I need to ask for forgiveness, because these depressed feelings were not of the Lord.

 

I began to pray and asked the Lord to forgive me and take any feelings of jealousy.  I heard the Lord say, “It doesn’t have to always be about you at these things.  There was a whole room of people who didn’t get a specific word from this pastor.  You were there for your friend, to give her that word of encouragement.”  

 

As much as you attend church or gatherings to hear specific words from the Lord, what you hear may be for someone else.  It means that God trusted to use you for advancing his Kingdom and to bring people comfort.  We shall never take that for granted but still remain in expectation for that good word.

 

Lesson Learned:  God is everywhere, we just need that heart of expectation and ears to hear it for whoever it may.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being jealous of others when they receive blessings from you.  Refine my heart and mind to align with your heart and mind.  If there is a good word for someone, give us the courage to share it.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Guarded by God

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”  Psalm 91:11

 

Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do?  There have been countless times, when things go badly, I grudgingly ask, “why?!”  God has good reason to allow things to happen.  One Sunday Morning, I was thankful for something going wrong.

 

Every Sunday, before church, I go grocery shopping at two stores.  One Sunday morning, I put cash, allotted from my budget, in my pocket.  Usually, it goes straight in to my wallet, but I thought my pocket was deep enough not to worry.  Also, I just had a car accident, where someone hit me from behind and I wasn’t feeling so great. (It turns out I sustained a concussion from the accident, so I definitely wasn’t well.)

 

At the first store, I did my grocery shopping.  When it was time to pay,  I reached into my pocket and my $100 bill was not there!  Reluctantly, I paid on a credit card.  However, I  decided to go home to look for that $100 bill instead of going to the second store.

 

By the grace of God, I found the $100 bill on the floor.  I put away the groceries and went back out to the second grocery store with that cash secured in my wallet.  I did my shopping and asked for help out, since I was starting to be in some pain.

 

One of the clerks at the store went out to the car with me.  As we exited the store, one of his co-workers was coming back from her meal break.  He said, “you will not believe what happened when you were out on break.  I will catch you up when i come back inside.”  Anyone would have their curiosity piqued by that comment, so  I asked him.

 

He told me something sad happened.  He began to tell me about an elderly customer that always comes into their store.  I interrupted him and said, “does he wear glasses and looks homeless?”  He said, “yes, but he isn’t homeless.  He just died in our parking lot about 30 minutes ago.”  He started to describe what happened.  Thankfully, he spared me most of the medical details.  I told him to take it easy because he witnessed something quite traumatic.  After he put the groceries away, he went back into the store.   I got into the car and began to cry.  

 

I was sad because he died so suddenly and traumatic.  But I heard the Lord say, “this is why I let you temporarily lose that $100 bill.” If I didn’t lose that money and went grocery shopping at this second store, I would have seen the whole thing unfold.   I am in NO way minimizing his death.  But the Lord knows us so well.  If I witnessed this man die, I would have been anxious for weeks, maybe months.

 

This event happened a week after September 11th.  I have read lots of stories where people who worked in the Twin Towers in New York, who were late or didn’t plan to work that day.  Whether it was because they hit traffic, their child got sick, or they had to go to the dentist because of a toothache, these things saved them from death or injury.  I know realize that even though things don’t go according to my  plan, God still has the best plan for me.

 

Lesson Learned: Nuisances can still be a blessing in disguise or a lesson that needs to be learned.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive for wanting life to be easy and perfect all the time.  Thank you for days when they go well and even when days do not.  May I see that your plan is always better than my plan.  I pray for a hedge of protection and your full armor everyday.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”