Did you ever see the M. Night Shyamalan movie “Signs”? Or listen to the words of a song like “Blessings in Disguise”? Did you ever get so caught up in your circumstances that you were questioning and angry at God, then suddenly you see where it is heading and it amazes you how creatively, how perfectly He could bring things about, maybe in ways you never imagined were related? Today, we’re going to discuss how those apparent curses end up as blessings.
Table Talk Notes
Esther: she was ripped from her home and all her dreams of marrying a godly man and having a family, forced into the pagan King’s harem to be used by him and tossed aside; BUT GOD gave her favor, made her queen, and put her in a position to save her people…
Esther 4:13-14 | Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Joseph: he was ripped from his home, stripped naked, sold into slavery by his own brothers; he found favor with his master but was falsely accused by the master’s wife and thrown into the dungeon; he found favor with the jailers and helped one of Pharaoh’s servants, who quickly forgot the favor; BUT GOD soon put him in a position to save his people, the very brothers who had initiated all this…
Genesis 45:7-8 | And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Ezekiel: taken to Babylon in the “first exile” along with King Jehoiachin, he was tasked with visually communicating to his people the warnings God gave him. One day God asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice in a mostly-futile effort to get thru to the people:
Ezekiel 24:15-18 | The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.
But they eventually did turn to God, building synagogues and Torah schools in Babylon, and the exiled King Jehoiachin, finally let out of prison there by Nebuchadnezzar’s son, led thousands of Israelites to Ezekiel’s grave, honoring him in reverent pilgrimage. Read about the prophet Ezekiel.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. HEB 5:8
Things to Remember When Facing Suffering:
God is omniscient—only HE sees the entire picture, including the future…
Romans 11:33-35 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (who knows enough to advise God what to do) “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (who can do enough for God or give Him enough that God would be in his debt, owing that person for his works/service—especially since “the Earth is the LORD’S and everything in it”—Psalm 24:1)
We’ve learned that God, in His mercy, will go to great lengths to give someone the opportunity to make the right choice, even if He already knows they will make the wrong choice…
Psalm 139:1-4 | O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
God doesn’t want anyone to be “lost”
2 Pet 3:9 | The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
- We never know how God is going to use something—and when you have surrendered your life to Him, He has all rights to use you for his purposes as HE sees fit…1 Cor 6: 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
We are “God’s canvas” to paint His grace: Why Do We Suffer (Crosswalk)
(adapted from ‘Principles for a Wonderful Marriage…’ in The Death of Christian Thought by Michael D LeMay)
God Cannot Lie and He Knows the Future
You can trust His Word in all things.
God Loves You as an Adopted Son or Daughter through Jesus Christ and He Cares about Your Happiness and Future
Current trials bring future eternal happiness when we handle them well.
Learn to Walk Into the Future Backwards
- Do not let the “Squirrel” loop from tree to tree.
- You cannot know, much less control, the future.
Embrace Delayed Gratification
Know What You Can Control and What You Cannot
- All you can really control is your own thoughts, beliefs and actions.
- Trying to control others is damaging to both and self-defeating.
Be as Patient with Each Other as God is With You