Have you ever played the IF game? If I had not gone to seminary in Texas, I would not have heard about the Arabic Church there, and if I had not visited the church, I would not have met my future husband…
That game can be played another way too. If I had not eaten that cinnamon roll, I would not have gained the five pounds I was trying to lose, and if I had not gained that weight, I would have been able to get into my new pants!
We can use if because we don’t see the big picture. God doesn’t use if, because he’s sovereign over all.
I was thinking of this today, when I remembered the statement of Joseph to his brothers: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.*
How could Joseph see being sold into slavery by his own brothers as a good thing?
It connected him with God’s plan for his life.
Not only that, during those years of both enslavement and then imprisonment, Joseph grew in his own personal relationship with God, changing from the spoiled, favorite son, into a mature God-believing leader who would save, not only his own people, but all of Egypt as well.
When I think about God’s purposes, I see examples all throughout Scripture of God using wars, famines, illness, enslavement and more as opportunities to draw those who are far away to himself.
- The enslavement of the Egyptians caused the Hebrews to cry to God.
- The invasion of the nations caused Israel to repent of their sins.
- The woman who’d been bleeding for twelve years reached out to Jesus.
- The woman, whose daughter was demon-possessed, begged for Jesus’ help.
- The lack of fulfillment in the Law led Nicodemus to seek Jesus out at night.
Are you at a point in your life, where illness, stress, unemployment or enslavement to porn or money is leading you to reach out to Jesus?
That’s your connection.
The worst state we can be in is the state where Jesus is not present.
Yet, he will use that horrible place to bring amazing change in your life, if you let him. All the woman did was trust that by touching his robe, she’d be healed.
Do you want to stay where you are or let Jesus radically change your life? Reach out to him. He is willing and ready.
For those of us who are already among the Chosen. We’re following Christ, but seemingly stuck in the midst of a bad place, emotionally, spiritually, or physically…
Realize that God has allowed this situation to draw you into a deeper relationship with him.
- What sin needs to be confessed?
- Which idols need to be laid at his feet?
- What doubt needs to be dispelled by a return to his Word?
- What laziness or apathy needs to be replaced with zeal for Him and his service?
How is God speaking to you in the midst of a pandemic, loss of church fellowship, loss of what you now realize was an idol of sports, or the fear of the unrest in our nation?
Let this be a connection to Jesus and a radically deeper relationship with him. You claim to be a Christian, after all, what was that looking like before trouble struck? Maybe it didn’t look that much different from the rest of the world. Now Jesus is saying it should be.
May God use the shaking of our world to connect us with Jesus.
He’s all that matters in the end — and the end will come sooner than you think. Make sure your connection is secure.
Grace and Peace
*Genesis 50:20 (NIV)