“Don’t be afraid…Don’t you see? You planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good. “ ~ Genesis 50:20
At our Summer Hope4Hollywood Ladies Tea: Stories of Grace, one of our ladies shared how God granted her grace in the midst of a difficult journey. “Many years ago when I was a college student at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. I met a handsome graduate student from Sierra Leone, West Africa. We began dating and 9 months later were married the day after my graduation. I was so in love. He was intelligent, tall and always a gentleman in my presence.
In our marriage, like all marriages, we had our ups and downs. He was an excellent provider, bills were paid, we had comfortable accommodations, and took two vacations a year. But I often found that he was emotionally unavailable and his authority was absolute. Throughout our married life he also continued to maintain his social life as if he were still single. I was not allowed to question any of his behavior.
Once we settled into our new home our lives seemed to be much like a storybook. But the undercurrent was that he continued to maintain a separate social life. There were always whispers of my husband’s infidelity amongst my colleagues at the university where we both worked and I recall seeing him getting into cars with different women. At those times I often felt something was wrong with me—that I needed fixing. So I would go to God in prayer to ask him to take away my “wrong attitude” towards my husband. One day, 11 years into our marriage, I went to God again. This time I did not ask him to ‘fix me”. Instead I asked God to start fixing my husband. Two days later, my prayers were unexpectedly and abruptly answered. My husband filed for divorce. I felt as if the bottom had dropped out of my stomach. How could this be God’s answer to my prayers?
It was then that I remembered one of my favorite stories in the book of Genesis. There Joseph experienced many devastating events from being sold by his brothers to being falsely imprisoned. Yet through it all he not only relied on God but surrendered all of his difficulties. I decided that if I could surrender my trials that were intended to harm me, God would be able to turn to them to good. Throughout the rest of my life I did just that, holding myself and my children up, all while earning 3 degrees. And along the way I embraced the many ‘grace-filled helpers”— wise elders, friends, community leaders, stepping in to provide an answer, listening ear or to provide encouragement and support.
These days I am in a new season of trials—this time with medical illness. Every day I am attempting to live a life of surrender, believing that God has the power to bring good even from this.”
What difficult trials are you currently enduring?
How can you surrender these so God can use them for good?