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Michelle Warner

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Recognizing How God Redeems

Posted on March 14th, 2011

Monday Morsel

sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.
**

On the heels of my difficult last month, God used a situation in my friend’s life to encourage me and give me perspective about my own life. Isn’t it gracious how the Lord uses others’ stories to shed light on our own situations?

My friend in my Bible Study has gone through a tough few years after losing her mom and having difficulty starting her family. Through these struggles, she renewed her relationship with God and learned to trust Him with her hopes of having a child. After what seemed like forever, she finally became pregnant. And with twins no less! However, a few weeks later, she found out that she lost one of the babies. As you can imagine, disappointment as well as fear overwhelmed her. Yet, she resolved to trust God with the health of her baby and face her fears.

A couple of weeks ago, she started to have lower back pain and other concerning symptoms of a potential miscarriage. Again, she would have to face and fight her fears. Instead of isolating herself during her crisis, she bravely emailed our Bible Study to ask for prayer before going in to see the doctor.

Her prayer request affected me deeply because I had just walked my own fearful path in the prior week. As I read her email, I sensed the emotion in her words and felt deep empathy as she waited for the test results with such tender hope.

As I waited to hear the outcome, I had to talk my friend’s situation over with God. My conversation went something like this: Lord, You know that she has been through so much in the last few years and You know how hard this would be if she lost this baby too. But You keep teaching me that You are good and what You do is good and designed to bring You great glory. So I trust You that You are intimately involved in this difficult situation. Would You allow her to sense You walking her through her appointment and give her peace as she hears the results?

As I prayed for her, God met me in a way I wasn’t anticipating: I gained a glimpse of perspective in what God was doing in my own life the past month-plus. It felt quite close to home to pray for a friend also enduring an uncertainty with her health, and yet as I stepped back from my own situation, I gained perspective of perhaps what God was doing in both of our lives through our trials.

I realized that oftentimes when I’m walking through a storm, all I can feel is the rain pelting against my skin. I can’t see the good that the rain is yielding; I can only feel how soaked I am. Yet when I ask God to help me view my experience from His perspective, He is gracious to give me glimpses of the good He is bringing from the storm. These glimpses are like sunny, blue-skied days after rain-filled weeks.

While praying for my friend, God brought a word to mind: REDEEM. I looked up the word in the dictionary and read phrases like “to win back,” “to free from captivity,” “to repair,” and “to restore.” I realized that God used my friend’s situation to remind me of the liberating truth about how He redeems and restores the situations in my life; it’s part of who He is!  I am amazed how He redeems our excruciating times for our good and His glory when we release the outcomes to Him. And while living this out can be oh-so-challenging, I am humbled at how gracious God is to remind us of the big and small ways that He does this along the way.

One way He redeems our hard roads is by using our pain to encourage others. He can’t help but use our struggle for good when we open ourselves up to be used in others’ lives. I love what 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says about this in the Message: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of His healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.”

It occurred to me that if I wouldn’t have walked through my health scare the past few weeks, I wouldn’t have been able to respond to my friend with empathy. Through this situation, God allowed me a glimpse of how He is redeeming some of my difficulties. Though I still wouldn’t choose to walk through some of the hardships God has allowed, it’s just like Him to take something challenging and use it for good. As one of my favorite songs says, “When anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord, just watch and see, it will not be unredeemed.”

As part of our Bible study last week, I asked each woman to share how God had redeemed a difficult experience in her life. When the question got to my friend, she shared about how God helped her face her fears and trust Him while waiting for her doctor’s appointment. It was so encouraging to hear how God had met her in such a trying situation (and so wonderful to hear baby and mama were fine!). Listening to her brought back memories of my own road and it felt so healing to step back and see the ways God was redeeming not only my challenge but all of ours as we surrender them to Him. After all, one of the themes we’re learning in our Bible study is that the process of breaking free from our strongholds is not so much about being “healed” but getting to know our Healer more intimately. And somehow along the way in that journey, He redeems our pain for our good and His glory. For that, I am so grateful.

“Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”
(Psalm 103:2-5).

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