You know My Story. I was raised apart from my father. Married at 18. Divorced by 35. A single mom with 3 sons, very little work experience, and a high school diploma. I don’t know if I ever asked, “Why me?” Honestly, that shipped sailed so long ago that I don’t remember. But I did ask questions. A lot of questions.
Perhaps your story is similar in some way. Your dreams didn’t come true, and you’ve tried to understand. Perhaps you’ve asked one (or more) of these questions:
- Why did this have to happen?
- What did I do to deserve this?
- What am I missing out on because of this?
So why do bad things happen?
Asking why – or any of those other questions – will never get us anywhere.
In other words, how you see the problem is the problem.
Consider it pure joy?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing
of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
[callout]How does that work?
Ask a different question instead.[/callout]
“What does this experience make possible?”
Some examples …
- Failure develops humility.
- Waiting develops patience.
- Grief develops gratefulness.
- Hardship develops strength.
- Opposition develops fortitude.
All of which will bear fruit in a practical way.
For instance – although I had never ever wanted to go through divorce – that experience made something new possible. My dream of going to college was always simmering on the back burner. But I hadn’t the freedom to go to school and manage my marriage at the same time. My then-husband opposed all my attempts for self-improvement. His decision to leave freed me to become who I am created to be.
Failure. Waiting. Grief. Hardship. Opposition. It took me 4 1/2 years more to actually get started, but once I did, I fairly flew. My experience had developed New Stuff in me. Humility. Patience. Gratefulness. Strength. Fortitude.
PLUS a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. A Master of Arts degree. And a Doctor of Psychology degree. All back-to-back!!! Who could have seen that coming?
And where I am now in the process of life
is deepening who I am in Christ!
[callout]Jesus has given me Beauty instead of ashes.
Just as He promised.[/callout]
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
So here are my questions for you:
- What does your current (or past) experience make possible that you would have missed without it? What is The Lord wanting to give you instead?