"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Perhaps one of my favorite verses in Scripture. Today as I sat down with my Bible study, this verse was the focus of the lesson. What an encouragement it was to me, and I desire to encourage you, as well.
"All things." (Some translations of the Bible say "everything.") Everything? The loss of a job, the death of a child, the pain of an illness, the hurt in a divorce, the sorrow in loneliness...how can God work good through these circumstances? Tired hearts question every day what good could come out of such painful situations in the forefront of their lives. Maybe you are one of those hearts today. Can I share some hope with you?
Let's read on to verse 29. Here is what it says:
"For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to b
ecome like his Son, so that his Son would be the first-born among many brothers and sisters."
So really, dear one, God knew you before you were born. He planned each day, each circumstance, each trial before you even took your first breath. Psalm 139:16 says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed..." And why would God choose to bring difficult circumstances in our lives? But for the goal of molding us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. Because you see, dear one, as we endure day by day, we are becoming more like Jesus. We can rest in knowing that each and every circumstance has been ordained by the Father in order to accomplish His perfect will. He is molding us, shaping us, and leading us each and every day. As God's dear children, we can put our hope in Him knowing that every circumstance will work for our good. What hope!
What encouragement this brought to me tonight. As I began to think of the way that God has led me in this past year of 2010, I could not help but see the way the Lord used many circumstances in my life, some difficult but some joyous, to draw me closer to Him and His will for my life. Brokenness was surrendered...and hope was given. Direction was sought...and prayers were answered. I would like to share a specific hope that God gave me just recently. It is dear to my heart, and I share this with joy tonight. Rejoicing that God is indeed faithful to His promises. He indeed works every circumstance in our lives....for good.
Tonight I write to you for the first time as Mrs. Thorn. On November 20, 2010, I had the privilege of saying "I do" to God's precious gift to my life. Never did I imagine that I would stand in front of my precious family and friends this year and have the honor of becoming a wife. And my sweet husband, the one that I have prayed for many years, chose to take me as his wife. He is not only one who I call my husband, but one who I call my Godly source of encouragement....leading me closer to my Father. The prayers for a Godly husband were abundantly answered by my Lord Jesus. And as we knelt at the altar during our wedding ceremony, we thanked our Almighty Father for what He had done. What a promise of hope fulfilled.
As I have shared before, I had a special box of letters. As a young girl, I began to write letters to the man that I would one day call my husband. On our wedding day, I had the honor of giving my husband these special letters. But as the wedding day was approaching, I began to assemble these letters into a scrapbook for him. I decided to read the last letter that I had written to him. As I read the letter...tears rolled down my cheek. For in this letter, I poured out my heart to him....not even really knowing who he was. I told him of my desperate longing to know what God wanted to do with my life. I told him of my fear of an unknown future and how God was shaping me through some difficult circumstances. I sat with the letter in my lap.....weeping because I could remember exactly where I was at the moment in my life. Ashamed as I am to say this...I was almost void of hope. I had no idea what God was doing in my life. I felt lonely, frustrated, and broken with "the plans." My eyes drifted to the top corner at the date. With tears streaming down my cheeks, my eyes read July 30, 2009. What is so significant about this date? My sweet husband and I were engaged exactly one year from this day on July 30, 2010.
What hope! God used this example in my life to show me that even in difficult circumstances, He is shaping my life to follow His perfect plan. For if I had not gone through that difficult time in my life, I may have never of had the chance to meet my husband. Looking back on all that God did in my life in one year brings such hope to this heart. God knew on July 30, 2009 exactly where I would be on July 30, 2010. Nothing was a surprise to Him.
Even in the pain, loneliness, sorrow....God is working. He is perfecting us...perfecting us into the image of His Son. Psalm 139:17 says: "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God..." You are precious to Him. Everything that He allows to come into your life is meant for your God. Never despair. Live in that hope.
Praise Upon Praise
Through the years
You have permitted
Hurt upon hurt
In my God-planned life.
This early morning
Even before I greet the dawn
I offer You
Praise upon praise
For you are transforming every hurt
Into a holy hallmark--
A genuine guarantee
Of my permanent indentification
---Ruth Harms Calkin
Praying for you, dear child of God. May you find hope in Him.