As I prepared to teach the teens in Sunday School this past Sunday morning, the underlying theme of what I felt the Lord stirring in my heart was that of perspective. How often do we view correctly that what is happening to us is an attack of the enemy, but forget that the Lord can use the bad in our lives to bring about good?
Joseph looked at his brothers in Genesis 50:20 and spoke these familiar words:
"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."
In Judges 14, Samson's parents saw correctly the wrong of Samson in wanting a wife of the Philistines, yet it is stated that this was of God to begin the process of deliverance from Philistine oppression. In Acts 8 persecution broke out against the church after the death of Stephen, but it scattered them - causing them to fulfill what Jesus had told them to do to begin with: go throughout Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth and tell people about Him.
Then there's Job. Sure the attack was from Satan himself, but it would not have happened if the Lord had not suggested Job as prey. That is very difficult to consider. While it is a huge compliment to be seen as a threat to the enemy, it can almost feel like betrayal by the Lord. Please remember that the Lord has a purpose in ALL things, and He works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
I am sure that the enemy was rejoicing as Christ hung on the cross. The appearance of victory was in his grasp, yet appearance of present circumstances isn't always where our eyes should be. What Satan meant for evil, God meant for good, in order to bring about as it is this day - to save many people alive. I challenge you to recognize attacks of the enemy, but then offer them to the Lord to do with them as He wishes. Let Him turn the enemy's weapon back on his own head.
Father, nothing takes You by surprise. I am so thankful that You can use ALL things for my good and for Your glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Genesis 50:20, Judges 14:1-4, Acts 1:8, Acts 8:1-5, Job 1-2, 42, Romans 8:28