I recently heard four words that have changed how I view everything. These words are so profound to me, yet so simple. Before I share those words with you, I thought I’d share some instances in which those words can be used. See if you can relate:
You have to work with a difficult co-worker. (A backstabber, perhaps?)
Someone totally misunderstood what you had to say at Bible Study (or on your blog!) and became offended.
Your ob-gyn calls you with questionable test results. You need to come in for a biopsy.
You and your husband are in total disagreement regarding how a certain situation should be handled.
The bills are mounting, and there's not enough money to pay them.
Your toddler just decorated the couch with ketchup.
The car made a pitiful noise when you started it this morning.
Your child's teacher has some "concerns" and has requested a conference with you.
You've prayed for years for a certain situation in your life to change, and it has changed alright… for the worse.
Your teenager is deeply hurt over a friendship, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
A loved one is continually making poor choices.
And on, and on, and on.
These scenarios (and more!) are what we face each and every day as plod this earth. There are moments and seasons of deep and abiding joy, punctuated by times of hurt, angst, and bewilderment. Here are the four words I heard a few weeks ago:
God is using this.
Beth Moore (or insert the name your favorite Bible study teacher) was in town doing a conference, needed to make some last-minute changes in what she was going to say, and called you from the hotel to see if she could use one of your Bible study resources?
Rachel Ray wanted to use one of your family recipes for her show?
Laura Bush wanted to use one of your children’s books in a talk she was giving at your local library?
Your favorite singer was sitting near you on an airplane wanted to use your iPod?
I know these examples are somewhat far-fetched, but would you let them use what's yours? I would, in a heartbeat! It would be an honor for someone of their renown to want anything I have. I would offer it up gladly! What if the God of the universe, the Creator of all time, events, and people wanted to use the time, events and people in your life for His purposes? This one's not far-fetched at all. He does. God uses finite circumstances to accomplish eternal works. What a privilege it is to think that He would use what concerns me to fulfill His plans! And He does it every day.
Oh, I think I've always been conscious of that on some level, and I’ve certainly repeated Romans 8:28 to myself plenty of times over the years, "God works all things together for good to those who love God, to those are called according to His purpose." (NASB) But lately, it has helped me so much to look situations square in the face and say out loud, "God is using this." These are the raw materials with which He will work as He "works all things together" in my life for my good and for His glory. He will use the big and small events in my life to mold me into the image of His Son, to draw me and others to Himself, to reveal more of His character, to further His Kingdom on this earth, and to bless me in this life as well as eternally. How that knowledge counsels my heart as I get a real sense that it is all in His hands. All of it- the good and the bad- must bow to His perfect will for my life and for this world.
What are you facing today? Disappointment? Joy? Confusion? An area of bondage? Health issues?
Remember, God is using this.