What is one thing about your life you wish you could change?
I grew up reading missionary stories. Hudson Taylor. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. David Livingston.
Missionaries spoke at my rural childhood church often, and I always found myself stuck between horror and awe. What would it be like to leave everything and go to a foreign country to follow Jesus? What if God called ME to somewhere with giant bugs and no Ducktales?
When I was young our senior pastor left to take his family to serve in China. On the cusp of high school I watched our fabulous youth pastor and his wife (hi, Mel and Amy!) leave for the Czech Republic.
One story I read over and over was Amy Carmichael’s biography, A Chance to Die. Carmichael left her home to minister in India.
Before that, she was just a girl, growing up with one deep sadness. She had brown eyes.
Night after night she she wept and prayed that God would give her blue eyes. It was her heart’s desire. She believed he could do it – after all, he was God, he could do anything – yet every morning when she checked the mirror she was devastated again. Her eyes remained the same deep brown.
It sounds a little silly, but if you remember being six or seven or eight years old, you know that those sorts of things can be the be-all and end-all.
What do you wish God would change in your life today? Is someone you love ill? Do you have a difficult boss or neighbor or spouse or child? Is your weight a constant struggle? Are the rent or mortgage payments a continual difficulty?
What about your circumstances do you pray God would change?
In Genesis 50 we meet Joseph. His brothers left him for dead and then sold him into slavery. (Speaking of terrible circumstances…) He was accused of something he did not do and left in prison.
Yet God never abandons him. Years later he rises to power in egypt just in time to save his birth family from starvation during an epic famine. His brothers come to him to beg for food, and are shocked when they meet not the foreign ruler they expect ed but their own betrayed brother.
Surely he will shout, “Off with their heads!”
But he doesn’t. Instead he says,
“What you intended for evil, God intended for good.”
Because of who God is – merciful and compassionate, powerful and loving – he can bring good out of terrible circumstances. And he does. And he will.
When Amy Carmichael stepped off a boat onto the shores of India for the first time she looked around at all the people and noticed one thing. They had brown eyes.
“Lord God,” she exclaimed, “You know what you are doing!”
What’s one way you can lean on God more heavily this week, trusting that he is working for your good?