Have you ever been reminded of a bad day you once had?
Lately I’ve made a rule to not look at my social media until after I’m done spending time the Word. I’ve found it really helpful to spend time with God and read about faithful brothers like Peter and Paul before I open myself to the world and it’s problems on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
So this morning, after I spent time in prayer and reading Acts, I opened up my Facebook and saw a memory from long ago. From the outside looking it, it was a great day.
But I knew what really happened that day.
See, I had received some bad news that morning. To get my mind off of it, I went somewhere very specific and just so happened to take pictures (so I posted them). The comments were all positive. They had no clue what kind of news I received that morning. They praised the smiles. They rejoiced in the fun they thought I had.
But they had no clue that I was entering yet another trial.
Many times I hear “why does God allow me to suffer?”. People say “I’ve been good, I’ve followed the rules, and yet, I suffer”.
I once wondered the same thing. See, this wasn’t my first trial. And it certainly wasn’t my last.
It’s not so much “why did God let me suffer?”, but more so “why is God so gracious to me?”.
The truth is, we deserve the bad things we receive. Those are the things we actually deserve. Romans 3:10 tells us that none is righteous, no, not one. Not me. Not you.
None of us have earned the favor of God by anything we’ve done. No amount of prayer, sacrifice, etc, can stronghold God into making Him do what we want Him to do. God is not a magic genie.
When I was 14, finding myself in trials a 14 year old should never have to go through, I felt betrayed by God. I often wondered why He’d allow things to happen to me. Eventually, bitterness to this “god” who seemingly blessed everyone else but me grew.
When I had problems, I prayed. What else was I going to do? Sometimes it seemed to work. Other times, not so much. There was always a pull towards church and religion, but once the shine of something new faded, I moved away from God. I studied religion to see which “box” I preferred Him in, but none were good enough for me.
Finally, when I was just shy of my 20th birthday, I realized an important truth: I knew OF God, but I didn’t KNOW Him.
I wasn’t at a church service when I was saved (trust me, church was the LAST place I wanted to be early 2010). I didn’t hear a Gospel presentation and walk down the aisle at an altar call. There was no fancy music to stir my emotions. I didn’t even pray a “sinner’s prayer”. Looking back, I can see how God would ordain my conversion to be as simple as possible so that I would have no other explanation than the Holy Spirit Himself regenerating my heart to be able to hear Him. I like describing it as experiencing a breath of fresh air for the first time.
You know what I did? I challenged God. (Legit).
From a truly sincere heart, one that had experienced a lot of pain, I prayed and told God “I WANT to believe in You, but it’s hard given all I’ve gone through. If You’re real, please show yourself to me“.
In about an hour after that prayer, HE DID. LOUD AND CLEAR.
If you want to read about my testimony, you can do it here, but rest assured, that bad day served a purpose.
When I saw those pictures this morning, I not only remembered a bad day I was having a few years ago, but looking back, I was able to see how far God has taken me from that trial. Facing trials before knowing Christ and afterwards allowed me to be able to compare the two. With one, I was hopeless. I wanted my life to end (and if I’m honest, a lot of my prayers as a 14 year old were just that).
But the trials I faced as a true Christian? Though I had pain, that hopelessness I once felt was no where to be found.
And because I chose to trust Him through it, I can look back and see just how far away that bad day really is from today. God has blessed me in miraculous ways. My life is far from perfect, trust me. I still have “bad days” every so often (though, perhaps not as bad). There are still days where my prayers to God are “I have absolutely no clue what Your plan is, but I TRUST that Your plan is the best plan“.
There is a reason why I say my life verse is Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.“
ALL Things Work Together. Yes, even the bad things.
God can turn even the worst situations into a source of joy for us and glory for Him.
May He do the same for you.
Grace & Peace,