It's All About Perspective
I have been reflecting lately on how much of our attitude and our outlook on life relies on perspective. Last week, when I was in Florida, I was beyond thrilled to be experiencing temperatures in the 70s. Back home, I knew my friends were experiencing below 0 temperatures and I knew that I had escaped (even if only for a few days). I ordered iced coffees, left my winter jacket at the place we were staying, walked on the beach, went to the park and did all the things that I feel deprived of in our New England winters. I could not have been happier. However, to my friends grandparents, the weather was crummy. They kept apologizing for how cold it was. They told my friend to drive me around and not to take me outside too much, because the weather was freezing! That was not about to happen. Because I am all too familiar with the woes of New England weather, I was fully able to appreciate even "cold" Florida weather. It has struck me that in the same manner, even the trials and challenges of life, God can use to help us to see the seasons of our life more clearly from his vantage point. God uses difficulties in one season to make us stronger for the next season. He uses our brokenness to help us to connect with the brokenness of others. Because we are only human and limited to what we can see with our natural senses, we tend to allow our outward circumstances to dictate our mood and to control our happiness. We often judge the quality of our lives based solely on external factors. The problem with this way of thinking is that we do not allow the bigger picture of God's grace and His goodness to inform our mindset and to root us in the hope of Jesus.
Reflecting on my life and the lives of those close to me, I know for a fact that God can turn any circumstance around for His glory. God uses what we see as setbacks and failures to draw us closer to Him. He takes the hardest and lowest moments of our lives and uses them to fashion and to mold us into the men and women that He has called us to be. We see this in the story of Joseph. Although Joseph's own brothers had sold him into slavery, God uses his negative circumstances to exalt Joseph to a position that he never could have achieved on his own. When reunited with his brothers, after being appointed second-in-command over all of Egypt, Joseph has this to say: "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" (Genesis 50:20).
My desire is that everytime I face an attack from the enemy that this would be my response. "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." Think about it. God loves to bring beauty from ugliness. He loves to redeem even those circumstances that seem unredeemable. When Satan attempts to throw us into slavery to sin and bondage to our past, God's intention is to always turn that situation around on it's head and use it for our good. The brokenness and suffering of this life is an indispensable part of who we are. It is our brokenness that draws us closer to Jesus, that makes us realize that we cannot possibly go through this life on our own and that strengthens our trust in Him.
The second part of the above-referenced verse points out the reason God redeems broken situations "to bring it about that many people should be kept alive." In Joseph's situation, his rule as second-in-command proved to be a vital role when Israel faced famine. Joseph was able to implement a plan to prepare for the famine, so that the people would not starve. In our own lives, we never know how God is planning to use our story to bring life to others who are experiencing their own brokenness. God takes our story and fits it into His bigger story, allowing others to experience Him in a fuller way. He uses our seasons of slavery to bring freedom to those in our lives who are in bondage to slavery right now.
What is it your facing today? Stand in faith that God will turn that situation around for His glory and expect that the things that were meant for your evil will turn around for your good.