He uses it all for His good purposes. I’ve had several recent encounters that have reminded me that our Father is ALWAYS working for His purposes. Many times the Kingdom fruit of our current difficulty is realized years later. However we like to understand now, His ways are not our ways, but His ways are good. And He loves turning trash into gold.
Aline, from Gurupa, of the previous entry, was intensely touched by God through Karen, who had suffered through an absolutely awful childhood, one filled with the worst of offenses toward her by those who could have cherished her. Seeing God use Karen in this encounter and in several others during her stay here was so beautiful. Aline responded to Karen BECAUSE Karen had suffered. Likely, she would have responded to no one else. Karen would never choose to relive her childhood, I’m sure, but it was pure joy for her to see her suffering be used for healing.
We greatly dislike affliction, but I am becoming more and more convinced that we have great difficulty receiving from God apart from it. Recognizing this does not create in us a desire for more pain, but rather trusting God in the midst of it brings acceptance of the same with a deep, comforting joy.
I spent several hours in the past week speaking with two people who are struggling with debilitating social phobia. Some of you know that for a period of about 10-12 years, I struggled with the same. This is a very challenging condition to live with, characterized by an irrational, paralyzing discomfort in social situations. I was able to share my personal struggles with them and they knew they were listening to one who understood. I communicated hope to them and they now know they aren’t losing their minds. It was such a joy for me to help them, to foster a treatment plan for them, and to see my past pain be used for their benefit. 2Corinthians 1:3-4
We can try so hard to forget, deny, or polish over those difficult things in our lives (even our sin and weakness) that Jesus wants to use for the benefit of another.