For the vast majority of my life I did not seek a personal relationship with the Lord. Though I knew Him, I didn’t read His Word, communicate with Him through prayer, and seek His will and purpose for my life or His guidance and direction. I drifted around like the lost child that I was feeling sorry myself and blaming everyone and everything around me for the painful things I had experienced in my life. Not only was I being subjected to painful experiences but I was inflicting my pain onto others by doing and saying hurtful things.
The devil is the great deceiver who comes to steal, kill and destroy. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” For so many years I was certainly not self-controlled and found myself in many bad situations as a result of bad choices and others who were not self-controlled. The horrible things I have done and/or experienced in life were definitely the work of the devil. I was allowing him to use me in order to try to destroy others as he was using them to try to destroy me. It took me realizing this to be able to forgive those who hurt me. I don’t blame those people any longer because I realize they, like me were simply poor and lost souls who were also deceived.
Verses 9 through 11 goes on to tell us to “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever amen.” In my opinion, it is impossible to ‘stand firm in the faith’ without being in an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord. It is through His Word that we obtain the knowledge required to discern His truths from the lies in order to not be deceived. It is through communication and prayer with Him that we learn to recognize His voice and adhere to His guidance, direction and leading. When we are not doing these things we open ourselves up and subject ourselves to painful experiences in life.
The amazing thing is that God knew the choices and mistakes we were going to make before He created us and put us in this world, yet He loved us enough to create us anyway. He loved us enough to send His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us in order to be reconciled with Him. God is a God who gives us free will to make our own choices and decisions. He knew the suffering we would endure from our choices before He created us. It is from this suffering that we learn obedience while He cultivates us into the unique individuals He created us to become. Hebrews 5:8 teaches us that Jesus himself learned obedience through suffering although He was the Son and once He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Who are we to look at our experiences in life and feel we deserve to learn obedience through any other means. The Son became the source of eternal salvation, what is He preparing you and I to become?
For many years I walked around with my head hung in shame and self-condemnation for the mistakes I had made through the course of my life. It took me realizing that those things which the devil intended to destroy me, the Lord intends to use for my benefit and the benefit of His kingdom. I can see now why the devil has tried so hard to destroy me. He has wanted to destroy me because I have made so many mistakes in my life, been hurt so much and hurt so many that the Lord can use me as powerful weapon. The wonderful thing is that my God is a miracle working God who can turn it all around. All of the pain and suffering I have experienced and inflicted, He can use for my good and the good of others.
The other day I was looking at the statistics of my blog and realized it is being viewed in fifteen countries around the world. It is my prayer that the Lord is using me to encourage some of you to never give up, to seek Him and find hope in Him. I know the Lord has to be using me to reach others because the devil tries to tell me every day that I am wasting my time when I sit down to write my post. I refuse to be deceived any longer. I WILL stand firm in my faith and I WILL be obedient to the Lord and I WILL allow Him to use me, my pain, my suffering and my experiences to reach others and do good for His kingdom. He will make all the pain and suffering worthwhile and meaningful. He will turn my pain into joy. He can take my mess and make it my message to lead others to Him. He can turn your pain into joy also, if you will only be obedient and seek Him. God Bless!