“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Do you ever worry that all of your hard times and suffering will be for nothing? That all of this pain you keep trying to press through is completely and utterly pointless?
I deeply understand that kind of fear and fatigue. What it’s like to pray the same prayers over and over with little to no change, all while the disappointments linger on and on.
That’s why I wish I could give you a gift today. It’s actually one that I received myself in the middle of the most heartbreaking season of my marriage.
When Art and I realized our marriage wasn’t going to make any progress without some professional help, we started seeing an amazing counselor. We spent more than seventy-five hours in his office. It was all with the understanding that we were on the same page and moving ahead together. All the devastation would be repaired and restored and made right.
But during one of our sessions, my counselor knew we were going to leave his office and walk into one of the fiercest seasons of this battle. He took a professionally done frame off his office wall and tore the backing to open it. He pulled out a real purple heart. The high honor the government had given to his family when his brother-in-law was killed in the line of duty trying to save others.
Then he knelt in front of us and placed this priceless medal in my hand.
“Hold on to this, Lysa, for as long as you need it. When the battle gets so fierce you wonder if you will survive, remember this moment of my telling you that you will make it through this. If God gave out purple hearts, you would absolutely receive this high honor. What you are going through won’t be for nothing. Your hurt will not be wasted. It will be for the saving of many lives.”
I looked down at this beautifully outrageous gift, speechless. The moment stole all my words, and I had nothing to offer back to him but tears. I mouthed the words “thank you.” I felt brave that day.
Less than a month after we returned home from that counseling appointment, my heart was devastated again.
I couldn’t breathe. The medal was the only physical thing I felt I could hold on to when every bit of my life was flying around as shattered debris. I had thought we were almost done with that horrific season, and then I realized we hadn’t even started the healing.
And while that purple heart couldn’t heal me, it sure steadied me for the next two years as Art and I did the hard work to put our marriage back together again.
I want to be that friend who helps steady you today, sweet friend. Because I know what it’s like to feel battle weary.
I am sure Joseph, the man who spoke the words of our key verse, was also familiar with feelings of discouragement and fatigue. How could you be thrown into a pit by family, sold into slavery, and then unfairly imprisoned without wondering if any good could ever come of your story?
But God had a plan. From pit to palace, Joseph was positioned to spare not only the lives of his family, but the entire nation of Israel. This is why his words to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 are such a beautiful picture of redemption and hope, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God has a plan for your life too. The enemy is going to try to trip you and rip you to shreds with the hurtful hisses that all of this suffering is for nothing. Don’t you dare listen.
I’m holding a purple heart in my hand that tells me something different. And it’s not just for me. It’s for you too. I knew it the minute the counselor put it in my hand, it should be pinned on your chest too. And if you were here with me today, I’d do just that. I would remind you that your story, surrendered into the hands of God, will not be wasted.
Close your eyes and breathe. You’re brave and beautiful and handpicked. A decorated soldier in this horrible battle with a glorious ending. I’m declaring over you that the Lord will restore you, redeem you, and write His glorious story onto the pages of your life. The journey might not look anything like you planned, but I’m believing with you that God is working things out in ways you cannot yet see.
Lord, I’m so thankful to know that there isn’t a single thing the enemy can send my way that You can’t overcome… that You can’t redeem… that You can’t use for my good and for the good of others. I’m choosing to surrender every heartache and every difficult circumstance into Your loving and mighty hands. Amen.
Life is full of battles. But we don’t want you to face them alone. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we want to help you connect your heart to God’s through the Truth of His Word with our daily devotions, First 5 app, online Bible studies, and other resources. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us so that we can continue offering hope and Truth to you and women all over the world? You can give to Proverbs 31 Ministries HERE today. Because we truly believe that when we know the Truth and live the Truth, it changes everything.
Have you ever made a decision you knew deep down wasn’t right, but it seemed completely justifiable in your situation?
Maybe you’ve been lonely in your marriage for a really long time, so it seems understandable that you’d seek companionship from a man who isn’t your husband. Or, you know you need to stick to the budget you and your spouse agreed on, but those boots are just too cute to pass up. Or, you realize what you overheard at work was confidential, but surely it won’t hurt if you just tell one other co-worker.
We justify and rationalize our actions until one day, our reckless choices slam into our lives like a wrecking ball. We forget that sin unleashes consequences that rob us of our peace, diminish our integrity and cause us pain that’s never worth it.
If only we could see from the outset what the choice of sin will do to us. That’s why I wish every temptation had a warning label on it. Then we’d know exactly what we were getting ourselves into.
Our warning label might look like this if we’re tempted to overspend:
“You will begin to look at other people’s lives and see all the shiny new things they have. It will start off as a small seed of jealousy that will grow until you rationalize you deserve those things, too. You will make an extra purchase online and bend the monthly budget just a smidge. But it won’t stop there. Sin and secrecy have ravenous appetites. Before you know it, you’ll be hiding credit card bills from your husband, being dishonest in your relationships, and facing a growing amount of debt. Your seemingly small decisions today will not only affect you, but they’ll ultimately lead to the division and possibly destruction of your family and the peace you took for granted.”
Or maybe we’re tempted to gossip, and our warning label would say this:
“You will convince yourself it’s okay to share one juicy detail about someone with a friend, as long as you follow it up with, ‘But don’t tell anyone.’ Each time you divulge a secret that isn’t yours to tell, you’ll feel a little more accepted by the captive audience. It will feel good to be the one who knows it all. But this house of cards will quickly come crashing down as friends and family lose their trust in you. You will no longer be known as a person of integrity or credibility. Relationships will disintegrate. And the words once whispered by you about others will make their return voyage as you eventually become the one being gossiped about.”
Take a second to think about this. What would the warning label in your life say?
The truth is, those warning labels are already all throughout the Bible. For example, James 1:13‒16, 21‒22 tells us:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.” …
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
But, if my Bible is collecting dust and my conscience is being hushed, then my heart is in danger of being crushed.
That’s not a sing-song rhyme. That’s truth.
Temptation only works if our enemy keeps the consequences hidden from us.
The enemy is thrilled when we don’t open our Bibles. He wants us to think the Bible is too complicated to understand and too difficult to live out. This is nothing more than an evil marketing plan crafted in the depths of hell to sell you something you don’t have to buy.
Your mind was made by God; therefore, your brain is perfectly capable of receiving what it needs to receive from the warning labels God has provided in His Word. And even if your brain doesn’t understand some things, your soul is made by God to respond to Truth. You don’t have to be a scholar. You just have to be created by God. And you are. Therefore, you can receive God’s Word, and His Word will achieve all the wonderful purposes meant for you.
Remember, Satan knows how powerful God’s Word is, and he wants to keep us from it.
Let’s refuse to let him.
Father God, I don’t want to be easily influenced by the enemy’s lies or seduced by his crafty plans. I want to live this life free of his entanglements. Guide me and teach me each day as I sit and read Your Truth, preparing my heart and mind for battle. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I love books. I love getting lost in them. And I love finding myself in them. I love authors that put into words what I’m feeling but can’t quite express myself. I love messages that step on my toes and then take me straight to Jesus.
My shelves are full of words on pages in chapters in books.
But you know whose book is missing in my life? Yours.
That message that’s been stirring in your heart and nipping at the edge of your dreams? The one you know you’re supposed to write but haven’t known how to start… it’s time.
I’m just going to be bold and say today is the day. We at Proverbs 31 Ministries would love for you to join us for the She Speaks conference this July 25-27th.
Getting equipped to walk out your calling is the best investment you can make this year.
I’ll be there ready to show you how to turn that idea… that message… your story… your passionate calling into a book.
If you aren’t a writer, don’t worry! She Speaks isn’t just for writers. It’s for speakers and leaders too! It’s for any woman who wants to learn how to better maximize the message God has placed on her heart to reach and help more people.