“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
Do you ever worry that all of your hard times and suffering will be for nothing? That all of this pain you keep trying to press through is completely and utterly pointless?
I deeply understand that kind of fear and fatigue. What it’s like to pray the same prayers over and over, with little to no change, all while the disappointments linger on and on.
That’s why I wish I could give you a gift today. It’s actually one I received myself in the middle of the most heartbreaking season of my marriage.
When Art and I realized our marriage wasn’t going to make any progress without some professional help, we started seeing an amazing counselor. We spent more than 75 hours in his office. It was all with the understanding that we were on the same page, moving ahead together. All the devastation would be repaired, restored and made right.
But during one of our sessions, my counselor knew we’d leave his office and walk into one of the fiercest seasons of this battle. He took a professionally done frame off his office wall and tore the backing to open it. He pulled out a real purple heart, the high honor the government gave his family when his brother-in-law was killed in the line of duty, trying to save others.
Then he knelt in front of us and placed this priceless medal in my hand.
“Hold on to this, Lysa, for as long as you need it. When the battle gets so fierce you wonder if you will survive, remember this moment of my telling you that you will make it through this. If God gave out purple hearts, you would absolutely receive this high honor. What you are going through won’t be for nothing. Your hurt will not be wasted. It will be for the saving of many lives.”
Speechless, I looked down at this beautifully outrageous gift. The moment stole all my words, and I had nothing to offer back to him but tears. I mouthed the words, “thank you.” I felt brave that day.
Less than a month after we returned home from that counseling appointment, my heart was devastated again.
I couldn’t breathe. The medal was the only physical thing I felt I could hold, when every bit of my life was flying around as shattered debris. I thought we were almost done with that horrific season, and then I realized we hadn’t even started the healing.
And while that purple heart couldn’t heal me, it sure steadied me for the next two years, as Art and I did the hard work to put our marriage back together again.
I want to be that friend who helps steady you today, sweet sister. Because I know what it’s like to feel battle-weary.
I’m sure Joseph, the speaker in our key verse, was familiar with feelings of discouragement and fatigue. How could you be thrown into a pit by your family, sold into slavery and then unfairly imprisoned … without wondering if any good could ever come of your story?
But God had a plan. From pit to palace, Joseph was positioned to spare not only the lives of his family, but the entire nation of Israel. This is why his words to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 are such a beautiful picture of redemption and hope: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God has a plan for your life, too. The enemy is going to try to trip you and rip you to shreds with the hurtful hisses that all of this suffering is for nothing. Don’t you dare listen.
I’m holding a purple heart in my hand that tells me something different. And it’s not just for me. It’s for you, too. I knew it the minute the counselor put it in my hand, it should be pinned on your chest, too. And if you were here with me today, I’d do just that. I would remind you that your story, surrendered into the hands of God, will not be wasted.
Close your eyes and breathe. You’re brave, beautiful and hand-picked. A decorated soldier in this horrible battle with a glorious ending. I’m declaring over you that the Lord will restore you, redeem you and write His glorious story onto the pages of your life. The journey might not look anything like you planned, but I’m believing with you that God is working things out in ways you cannot yet see.
Lord, I’m so thankful to know there isn’t a single thing the enemy can send my way that You can’t overcome … that You can’t redeem … that You can’t use for my good and others’ good. I’m choosing to surrender every heartache and every difficult circumstance into Your loving and mighty hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
When have you seen God turn the enemy’s plans around and use them for good in your life? Join the conversation here.
© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.