Proverbs 20:5 (the message)
Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;
a wise person draws from the well within.
A few days ago I had a really great catching-up conversation with a friend. As Leighton napped and we talked, my heart stirred with excitement.
She’s been through so much.
Stuff most people don’t ever deal with…don’t encounter…and probably won’t. Sure, she’s had her down days but a smile and generous heart remains.
Her Jesus-roots are deeper.
As we talked I thought about how our God wastes nothing when we love Him. All of the trials of life can potentially dig within us a deep well.
A well of empathy, compassion and grace.
A well of experience.
Experiencing His presence, His hand on our life, as we traverse rocky roads. Experiencing freedom from fear as we walk through the valley of it.
I’m not sure we recognize the 24 carat gold that lies within our past experiences, failures and troubles. We are thankful to make it through and learn to trust Jesus a bit more…but we might not recognize the redeeming purpose of this experience-well dug into our lives as we do battle.
Thursday night my Pastor was talking about how sometimes your “misery becomes your ministry.” How your “test becomes your testimony.” I’ve also heard him say your “mess becomes your message.”
I smiled at Pastor’s words…a thread weaving its way into my week.
I had another great conversation with a friend about her family’s testimony. God may soon call them to share it, and that can be kind of scary sometimes. Oh the blessing for those willing to pull back the curtain…show others their scars…let those so needy for hope in similar circumstances draw healing water from their well.
What a waste if we don’t see the gemstone value in our story, ugly as it may have been.
Check this out. A few years ago during worship a few folks briefly shared their testimony. The last was a couple, one I knew even before we attended the same church. I was a bit familiar with their story, but never did I dream I would hear it spoken on a stage in front of hundreds of people. Never did I imagine she would openly share her issues with alcohol and adultery, husband standing and crying beside her, with our entire church.
Is it odd to say how heart-busting proud I was of her? Of them? As soon as I could, I hugged her and told her she had just nailed the devil to the ground.
This is Victory. Not perfection, no. Perfect redemption.
When we open our story to the eyes of others some are indeed going to judge. Some are going to label, inwardly eye-roll or attempt to diminish our experience. But those are not the ones our story is for. At least not that day. The sharing, the drawing deeply from the well within, is for those who will soak in your healing…be effected by the power…receive hope in your courage.
And they are there. And they are listening. And they don’t even know it yet.
They need to see Jesus gives beauty for ashes.
He wastes nothing.
The overarching theme of Creation is redemption. God is always looking for ways to draw men and women to Himself. Those of us living drawn are meant to be His ways.
There is unspeakable joy in letting Jesus use our story. There is a fulfillment and a restorative healing that comes when His compassion and wisdom flows from where we’ve been to where someone else now stands. If you aren’t sure, think of it this way. Think about the times someone reached out to you at just the right time, and you knew God was behind it. Perhaps it meant the world to you that day. Perhaps it gave you enough “umph” to keep on trusting.
Can you see we are meant to be someone’s “umph?”
Something happens as we teeter near fearlessness. As we flirt with the idea of letting go. As we ask Holy Spirit to help us see what He sees and hear what He hears…give us His heart…we slip into a vulnerability that makes us come alive like never before. See, it’s not just about our story and how it ends.
Our redemption story is supposed to help write someone else’s.