Encouragement 02-11-05



February 11, 2005
Encouragement for Today

For Those Who Love Him
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, editor@proverbs31.org

Key Verse:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)


When we'd purchased our home in Charlotte, we purchased it the first weekend it went on the market.  I wrongly assumed it would sell just as quickly.

With its dark green and gold entrance, cranberry-colored family room and dark blue master bedroom, it was sure to appeal to someone else who loved vibrant colors on walls.  In spite of our realtor's advice to paint everything white, we put it on the market in its colorful glory.

Weeks turned into months.  My husband moved to start his new job, while I tried to keep the house clean and picked up - ready to show at a minute's notice.  That was quite a feat with three small boys.  At one point, we did relent and paint the entrance white, but that didn't fool any buyers.  The house was still quite colorful.

I focused a lot on prayer and praise during that time.  Although I was trusting that God had a plan, I found my prayers turning to pleading for Him to bring a buyer.  I was looking for the "good" Scripture promises, but was having a hard time seeing it at that time.  Finally, God brought a young Christian family into our lives.  They had just moved to the area and wanted to purchase a home, but couldn't qualify yet.   They had a little girl and a baby on the way, and loved the house just as it was, so we arranged for a lease with a purchase option.  Our prayers were answered!  

Little did we know that within six months, our renters would experience a devastating miscarriage with no health insurance.  Their finances were in ruin and they returned to their family in Florida, leaving us again with a rainbow-painted house to sell.  Only this time we were 2000 miles away.  We had the house painted white and it sold within a few weeks.

Even though I could see God's hand caring for us and trusted His timing, I still wondered why God allowed us to go through that difficult experience.  It wasn't that I doubted His plan, I just wanted to understand.  So I searched for the "good" mentioned in Romans 8:28.  I saw how we learned to trust God more, how it developed our character and more.  But I learned something new through that experience too. 

When you tell God He can use you for His purposes, prepare to be inconvenienced for someone else's good.  Not only was God working out the situation for our good, but I believe He was working it out for our renter's good as well.  That little family of believers needed a home for that time.  And when they lost the baby and needed to move near family, they benefited from a landlord who wouldn't sue them for the broken contract.

I wonder if sometimes God wants to help one of His children and writes a willing, yet unknowing servant into the story to do it.   When we consider the model of Jesus, sacrificing His own life for our good, I believe we see God's character revealed.  While God could accomplish His purpose without us, He chooses to use us.  That includes a sacrifice on our part to bring good into another's life.

The next time you can't see the obvious good in a situation, or God's purpose, consider if He's using you to bring good into someone else's life.  Always trust that He will bring good to you as well in due time.  When considered in this eternal light, it makes our momentary troubles worth it all.

My prayer for today:  

Lord, You are perfect in all ways.  Your plans and timing are perfect.  Help me to trust in your goodness to those who love You, even when I don't understand why I'm experiencing a trial.  May I become more like Jesus as I wait on You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Application steps:

Identify a recent personal challenge.  List the good that God brought out of it for you.  If another person benefited, list how that person was blessed.

Reflection points:

Do you think God's definition and our definition of "good" are the same?  Explain.

The greatest example of One being "inconvenienced" for the good of others is Jesus.  Read Hebrews 12:2-3.  What do you think was the "joy" set before Jesus?

Romans 8:29 calls "good," "that which conforms us to the likeness of Jesus.  Do you think your troubles have made you more like Jesus?  If so, how?

What can you do to become more like Jesus during your next trial?

Are you open to God inconveniencing you for the benefit of another?  Reflect on this.

Power verses:

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  II Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

"'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.' Then the angel left her." Luke 1:38 (NIV)

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:10 (NIV)

Additional resources:

New!  Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Speaker Team

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?  By Lysa TerKeurst

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes

Originally published Friday, 11 February 2005.