God is an expert at dealing with poo.
All great fathers are.
And according to the Bible, “For those who love God all things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28)
The phrase “all things” in this verse literally (and unequivocally) means, “all things.”
The good, the bad and the very ugly are fully included. Because in the mystery of the God who is big, kind and radically wise, all things work together for our good.
Now, I’m not saying that God is the perpetrator of evil, sickness, or sin… but I am saying that (because He is good) He will find a way to use it for our advantage.
This is not for our brains to understand it, it’s for our hearts to be transformed by it.
It’s what Joseph did during 13 years of slavery and prison and betrayal. When he finally was on top, and encountered the brothers who sold him like cattle, he revealed to them his liberating perspective, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Yes, as He did with Joseph, God can turn the crap in your life into glorious fertilizer. The kind that grows beautiful things. The kind that produces a great crop. The kind that brings in your vintage.
It works for the poo that you have created, and the poo that has been thrown in your face.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
― Helen Keller
I am currently conquering the worst about myself.
A few weeks ago I was invited again to share in a maximum security prison here in Raleigh. I was specifically asked to teach on Anger Management.
“What a cosmic joke,” I thought. “The guy who almost lost his wife, his ministry, his family and his faith because of his uncontrollable anger, sharing with others (who obviously struggle with anger themselves) on how to manage it.”
But you know what? That’s God.
Has to be!
No one else will see the worst in you and choose to turn it into the best of you.
So I visited my incarcerated friends. We spoke for a few hours. Shared stories. Read scripture. Cried together. Some encountered Jesus for the first time. And my heart was awake with hope again.
Oh I have struggled with anger… but now, anger is struggling with me.
After lots of healing, counseling and forgiveness, I am at a place in life where my old junk is the foundation for a beautiful garden. And from that garden I am feeding my wife and children with fruits of gentleness and joy.
I’m not perfect.
Nonetheless, I am an overcomer.
For only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victor.
Here’s the exciting news: It’s the same for you, today.
Actually, this redemption-mercy is available every morning. All it takes is a change of lenses, a shifting of perspective.
The truth is simple: If we leave crap, as crap, then our lives will stink. Shame and anger and victimhood will be the aroma of our existence. We will continually inhale the accusation and the drama. We will wallow in our sorrow and miss out on the beauty that surrounds us.
Of course, you have the right to be angry, sad, bitter and disappointed.
But you also have the choice to not stay there.
You can forgive.
You can get help.
You can be grateful.
And if you radically accept yourself (and where you were yesterday) then you can radically challenge yourself to move forward again.
Mother Teresa turned the poverty in Calcutta into an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God. My dad turned the loss of his father into motivation for progress and education. Helen Keller (who I quoted above) transformed her limitations into exhortations and inspiration. Apostle Paul turned his time in prison into a time for writing letters; and inside his one letter to the Romans (and to us) he wrote this glorious encouragement:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Yes, poo happens.
But Jesus is a gardener.
You are his seed.
And it is time for your harvest.
God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings the knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (The Message)
+ Start the 10 day journey to change your perspective:
P.S. I would love to hear how you turned a challenging situation in your life around – share in the comments below. And share this encouragement with your friends.