Listen to Nancy answer this question recorded on Moody Radio with Kelli and Steve

All of us, as inhabitants in our broken and sinful world, experience suffering. Sickness, poverty, and abuse can leave deep wounds that make us afraid to push ahead because we fear failure and our lack of hope. We have believed the lie that our past circumstances dictate our future. Without God, our future is grim. With God, there is hope. He makes it possible for us to leverage past failures and our lack of motivation to become all that God has gifted us to be! God does not make mistakes, and that includes you!

Many trapped in downward cycles are emotionally convinced that life opportunities have passed them by. Satan’s prime focus is to strip us of hope and make us think that our failures and hardships are a death sentence. Your past is not a predictor of your future. Jesus came to earth to provide for us a way to experience joy despite our past. He could have rightly condemned all of us, but instead, He forgave us and now calls us His child and has a future for us. With Him, no matter the circumstance, God can use it and us for His glory. 

    • “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

    • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…” (John 3:17-18).

    • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

What appears to be dead ends to our human reasoning, God sees as opportunities to grow us spiritually and emotionally from self-focus to God-centered for His glory. What looks hopeless and impossible to us, is an opportunity for growth from God’s perspective.

In 1 Samuel 24, Saul was out to kill David. His jealously toward David consumed him, and from all outward circumstances, Saul clearly had the upper hand. Humanly speaking, David was all but done-for. Saul was in his palace sleeping while David and his men were camped out in a cave. Saul’s men were trained soldiers; David’s were not. Saul had plenty of food served to him; David’s men had to hunt and kill and prepare everything they ate by the fire. In the end, Saul failed, and God used David’s challenging circumstances to grow him, and his men, into mighty warriors. Eventually, David became the king, in the lineage of Jesus. 

Most are familiar with the story of Joseph being overcome by his brothers and thrown into a pit and then thrown in jail. However, God had plans for him that far exceed his circumstances. God used him not to seek revenge, but to see the bigger picture from God’s perspective. Even though we might not always know the results, God will use us for His glory when we persevere. 

Max Lucado cleverly wrote an article entitled, “What was meant for evil, God used for Good.” Joseph, Son of Jacob, graduated with honors from the University of Hard Knocks and went on to successfully become the Director of Global Effort to Save Humanity. 

    • “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) 

    • “Joseph tied himself to the pillar of this promise and held on for dear life. Nothing in his story glosses over the presence of evil—quite the contrary. Bloodstains, tear-stains are everywhere. Joseph’s heart was rubbed raw against the rocks of disloyalty and miscarried justice. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain. The torn robe became a royal one. The pit became a palace. The broken family grew old together. The very acts intended to destroy God’s servant turned out to strengthen him.

    • “You meant evil against me,”

Joseph told his brothers, using a Hebrew verb that traces its meaning to “weave” or “plait.”

“You wove evil,” he was saying, “but God rewove it together for good.” 

For those who want to change the course of your lives, begin today by choosing to no longer serve your past but to trust God with your future. Ask a solid Christian friend to help you on your new journey. Seek a professional Christian to counsel you if you feel so led. Surround yourself with Christian encouragers. Decide what you need to stop doing and begin to adopt healthy practices. Most importantly, meditate on God’s Word. 

    • “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)

    • “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”(Hebrews 12:1)

    • “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).