I stay amazed at the process God leads me through to write a new blog each week. Usually, I throw a couple of random thoughts into my blog pot at the end of the week and allow them to simmer over the weekend. Then on Monday, I gaze into the bottom of that pot to see what sort of concoction materializes. Sometimes, it’s all still a jumbled mess that must be sorted through and prayed over. But on days like today, it’s quite easy to see how all my thoughts can boil down to one significant topic. Let me explain.
For the last two weeks I’ve been reading the book of Job as part of our church’s One Year Bible reading plan. Considering all I’ve experienced lately, I now read Job through a different set of eyes. My focus has shifted from Job’s sufferings and his less-than-helpful friends to what I feel is really the message of the entire book: God uses the bad things that happen to good people for an eternal purpose.
Last Thursday night at a Bible study with some women in drug rehab, I was blessed to sit beside a young lady who needed to look on with me as we studied the Scriptures together. The group discussed several Bible verses, and she made a mental note of the words “so that” being circled in my Bible every time she saw them. Later, she asked me about it. I told her I began marking them so I could get a clearer picture of God’s purpose revealed throughout Scripture. I shared with her my favorite “so that” Scripture found in 2 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession SO THAT you may declare the praises of Him who brought you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Now, fast forward to my Monday morning Bible study group. The lady leading the discussion brought up Psalm 40:1-3. This is one of my most favorite Scriptures in the whole Bible! David boldly declares, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit; out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and hear and put their trust in God.”
Quite frankly, it’s taken Job, Peter, and David to help me make sense of the suffering of a very dear, 21-year-old friend of mine. I’d never heard of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, but I know it now! And I’m not so sure that it’s not the exact kind of suffering Job endured. With this disease, your skin blisters painfully and peels away. You become susceptible to infection and have to be treated much like a burn victim. It’s been a horrific process, but through it all, my friend and her family have remained hopeful, prayerful, and faithful. Their testimony has strengthened my faith and the faith of many. They know, and I know, that this sweet young lady is God’s special possession. I believe that God and those providing treatment hear this family’s songs as they continue to praise Him for allowing them to feel His abiding presence.
The lady who sat next to me in drug rehab will have a new song in her mouth once her feet get firmly planted on the Rock. My young suffering friend will no doubt sing the praises of the One who brought her out of her darkness into His wonderful light. And as for us Monday Morning Bible Study girls? We’ve changed our tune about pain and disappointment.
Jesus told us that “in this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) Without some lingering discomfort, our minds stay tuned to our old, comfortably familiar melodies. If we are not careful, those songs can become stale and lose their ability to minister to those looking for a better station with new call letters.
Suffering writes the lyrics to the new song God puts in our mouths. When we allow pain to push us into the arms of Jesus, we find rest in His promises. We then begin praying through the pain, and we seek help from faithful friends who help transform our caterwauling into a magnificent symphony.
God doesn’t cause the pain, but He allows it. He uses it for our good. He helps us exchange our screeching notes for ones that lilt and flow. I told my group yesterday that my 18-month-process had been a nightmare, but I would go through it all again to find what I have now – the realization of God’s reassuring love, presence and …
I don’t know what you’re going through, but maybe your song is being rewritten so that you can make an eternal difference in the life of someone else. Listen to the song God sings over you. Learn the words and the melody.
Then SING to the top of your lungs!