Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Do you remember things happening in your childhood and hearing, "This is for your own good."? Sometimes, I remember that being attached to a punishment. I didn't get many, but probably it was when I was getting a spanking for doing something wrong.
This morning, the above Scripture jumped out at me twice in my devotional reading.
I think God wanted me to tell you that three things:
1. We have punishment and discipline mixed up. There is a difference. Punishment is "severe rough or disastrous treatment." Discipline is "the act of training people to obey rules." God allowed Jesus to take our punishment on the cross. He lovingly disciplines us because He wants us to obey His rules.
2. God doesn't make the bad stuff happen to us. God is all knowing, so He knew that horrible event was going to happen in your life. But He didn't say, "Yeah, let me inflict pain on Jill, she's been acting up, so maybe this will turn her around."
3. No matter what happens, God can and will turn it around for our good. The two greatest examples that come to my mind at the moment to illustrate this are one friend who lost a child and is now a huge advocate for the disease that killed him as well as for people to do random acts of kindness each month in his memory; and another friend who's 17 month old is dying from a disease. These two women have turned something awful in their life around for good because they have turned to God and allowed Him to work through their broken hearts. Both are not easy. God is using these life events for good.
Here is a paragraph from Christine Caine's devotional, "Living Life Undaunted" that just really ties into what I'm saying.
"Very often, the thing the enemy uses to try to destroy our lives is the very thing God uses to help others. God can heal every hurt and turn our scars into signs of strength for His glory. Our past mistakes, hurts, and pain can help someone else have a future if we allow God to redeem them."
Here is the kicker... we've got to ALLOW God to heal us.
Yes, God is all powerful, but He will not force Himself on someone. I mean, if you forced someone to spend time with you, do you think they'd enjoy it? Do you think they'd listen to what you are saying? No. They wouldn't like you very much.
God loves us all unconditionally. He does not guarantee that our lives will be perfect. But He does promise to turn the bad around for our good.
What do you need turned around in this new year? How can I pray for you? Please let me know.
God bless you today and always.