Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bad Things with Big Benefits

Bad things happen. There is no disputing that. But when bad things happen to good people we often wonder what in the world is going on. I'm sure the people in Jeremiah's time did too.

The prophets were all saying wonderful things, but Jeremiah wasn't. He was telling them that God had forsaken the people of Israel. Then Nebuchadnezzar carried a portion of the people off to captivity: a bad thing for those captives. They were pulled from their homes and families and carted off. This was bad! But God had a special purpose for that bad situation.

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.'” ~Jeremiah 24:5-6 NAS


God used their captivity, their bad situation, to save them while He sent even worse consequences to those who were left in the seemingly better circumstances. Those in captivity were watched over by God. The others were abandoned.

When bad things happen, they happen for a purpose. God gave the captives “a heart to know Me.” He wanted them to draw near to Him and get to know Him better and He blessed them with a heart that wanted to know Him and He made them His people in heart, not just in name.

Does the same thing happen today? You betcha. How many times have we heard, seen and experienced God working through bad things?

When I was 16 I started playing basketball and I loved it. Totally loved it. I worked hard and it paid off. I quickly made it to the starting string and continued improving. But God had other things in mind. He knew what was going through my mind and how basketball—sports--was shaping me and my plans for the future, and it seems He had something else in mind. So He sent 'bad things'. And those bad things saved me.

See, I ended up with Guillan Barre, which kills your nerve endings. When your nerve endings die, your muscles atrophy and when your muscles atrophy, you can't walk well. Have you ever tried playing basketball when what's left of your muscles don't get the message to move? It doesn't work.

While I watched my teammates and friends play ball, I grew closer to God. He made Himself real to me and I learned more of His nature and love for me. I didn't go into teaching like I was thinking, and it's a good thing since it would have driven me to sheer lunacy. I also didn't go into physical or occupational therapy like I was toying with, and that's good too since I never would have made it there either. Instead I went to Moody Bible Institute and took some great Bible classes and met my husband and here I am, doing what I do.

God used a bad thing in my life to bring about the big benefits of knowing Him better and directing my life.

When bad things are happening and it feels like we're being sent into captivity, let's look around for God. He likes to work through bad things for our benefit.

2 comments:

  1. Patti, this is so in sync with meditations of my own heart this morning - writings that are tumbling around in my head - and memories of how God provided not through abundance, but when I was poor He fed me through His own miraculous ways. I learned He is my provider not because He gave me riches but because He fed me when I didn't have anything!
    Blessings on you for sharing the truth!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So true, Patti. We rarely see what God sees, and often wonder what he is doing, but he never fails to glorify himself in those who are willing to obey and trust even when they don't understand.

    ReplyDelete

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