Have you ever seen a beautiful flower growing out of a crack in concrete? It’s like hope growing out hopelessness. It’s like a blessing in disguise.
After the Jews were sent into captivity for 70 years because of their rebelliousness against God, God graciously allowed them to return to Jerusalem. They returned in three phases with Nehemiah bringing the last group back. Upon his arrival, he inspected the wall that surrounded the city that had been destroyed when they were invaded 70 years earlier and then led the people to rebuild it. Once it was rebuilt, the dedicated the wall and set up the temple responsibilities. Then they gathered all the people together for the reading of the law that God gave to Moses. It was while the Book of Moses was being read that the people discovered that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the house of God because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water but hired Balaam against them to curse them (see Numbers 22-24, Deuteronomy 23:3-6, Judges 3:13, Judges 10:9-17). Instead, God caused Balaam to pronounce blessings over them.
When Joseph’s brother’s sold him into slavery because they were jealous that their he was their father’s favorite, they thought they had seen the last of him. Years later when a famine rages across the land their father sends the brothers to Egypt to buy grain. They don’t recognize him, but Joseph is now 2nd in command in the land of Egypt with only the king over him and he is in charge of the grain they are coming to buy. Eventually Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and naturally, they are afraid of the repercussions that they expected Joseph to hand out to them. Instead, Joseph’s response is found in Genesis 50:20. He told them, “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.” Joseph recognized that God had been at work in his life to keep the rest of his family as well as the nation of Egypt and anyone else who came to buy grain so that during the years of the famine, people would survive.
Too often, today, when things seem to go wrong in our lives, we whine about it, complain about it, get depressed, or pout about it. Sometimes we get angry and blame God. Joseph certainly could have gotten angry and blamed God, but instead we see him always following God. Sometimes, those things that we whine and complain about are actually blessings and God is at work in your life. For example, what if the tire that went flat protected you from an accident on the expressway? What if that unexpected report from the doctor let them find something early enough to treat so that you live many more years? What if the lady checking your groceries out was slow, but it gave you the opportunity to show the love of Christ to her? There will always be things in life that do not go as planned and they seem like something awful – but sometimes those things are the blessings that God sends us and we never realize exactly how God was working in our lives. Satan and people will do things against us that are meant for evil – but God is greater than any evil and He can turn any curse into a blessing.
It’s much like the flower growing in the crack of broken concrete. When we focus on the complaint, it’s like focusing on the broken concrete and never seeing the beautiful flower that has poked through the crack. But when we focus on how God could be at work in our lives, then we see the beauty. So the next time something bad happens, before getting angry or whining and complaining, take a moment to stop and consider where God might be at work. Ask Him to turn it into a blessing. Then be sure to give Him the praise.
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.