Psalm 50:15 (New Living Translation)
Replace the evil years with good.
A powerful stumbling block to forgiving is our belief that someone has robbed us of precious time. We may have spent years in an abusive or unhappy relationship feeling angry, afraid, and helpless. We may have survived childhood wounding only to sacrifice adult years to low self-esteem, underachievement, addictions, or poor relationship choices. We may be convinced that until our lost time is restored to us, we can’t consider forgiving the person who cheated us.
Fortunately, our God is in the business of redeeming not only lost souls for eternity but also lost time for his good purpose. When we surrender to him our wounded hearts and painful memories, God can reach back into the ugly, shameful events of our lost years and create something beautiful and valuable for our future.
Consider the good that may have come to you because of the way you were injured. For example, can you identify with any of these statements?
- I learned that I was strong enough to survive unjust and painful circumstances.
- God proved to me that he is faithful.
- Through my ordeal I’ve been convinced of God’s love for me.
- God chose to reveal to me something about himself that I would not otherwise have understood.
- I now feel compassion for others who have suffered in the same ways that I have.
- My choices, however misguided at the time, have brought people and circumstances into my life that now bless me.
- God gave me gifts—uniquely shaped by my experience—that I can use to help and encourage others.
- I’ve learned to love truth and light and to seek after God’s kingdom.
Our God is in the business of redeeming lost lives and lost years. We can trust him to reshape our dark and ugly experiences in the light of his love for us and his promise to give us hope and a future.
FATHER, I give you my wounds and ask you to change how I think about them. I trust you to create something beautiful from what has only caused me pain and hardship. Teach me how to live a positive and useful life not only in spite of my lost years but also because of them.
Genesis 50:20; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 John 5:4-5
How has God used something ugly in your life to teach you something good and useful that you can share with others?