|artwork by Tamara Peterson|
“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption.”--Beth Moore
As I meditated on this quote, I was thinking about how many times we wished our past, our history, our background was different; yet if we believe that God is all powerful and all knowing, we have to believe that He knows our past and our future, and His providence allows our past to be part of our destiny.
There are parts of our past that we prefer to stay hidden; but God wants to use all of it in His plan to bring restoration and healing to others. We can allow God’s redemption, forgiveness, and grace to give us a future and a hope, because He has amazing plans for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
No matter what our past holds, we can’t change it, but God can and will use it. Our history is what God uses to create our destiny. Our history—the good and the bad—was and is in the hands of a Sovereign God who loves us and has a wonderful plan, hope, and future for each of us.
We see how God took Esther, a young girl who had suffered the loss of both parents, and brought forth her glorious destiny. Such a tragic story, yet God used her past to make her into what He wanted her to be. He used her past to bring about the purpose He had for her life.
In Beth Moore’s Bible study on Esther, she refers to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
God does not comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comforters. We can take whatever difficult things that have happened to us and use them to help someone else who may be going through the same thing. Our experiences and difficult times can either make us bitter or better. How much more abundant our lives will be if we allow them to make us better.
Romans 8:28, the Genesis 50:20 of the New Testament, declares, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
Author Tim Challies writes: “Have you ever compared the front and back of a tapestry? The front of a tapestry is art. In the hands of a skilled weaver it displays incredible artistry and fine detail. The world’s best art museums collect the world’s best tapestries and display them there as examples of a rare but beautiful form of art. The back of a tapestry is a mess. A tapestry is made by weaving together different-colored threads, and the images and designs are created by the interplay between the different colors and textures. What is clear on the front is opaque on the back. The back shows something of the image, but it looks more like a child’s attempt than a master’s: it lacks nuance and clarity and detail. Where the front is smooth, the back is covered in knots and loose ends. We are meant to see and admire the front of the tapestry, not the back, and this has often served as an illustration of the truths of Romans 8:28; That God promises to use every single event in our lives to bring about good.
But it illustrates something else equally well—good deeds—not the good deeds people do to try to earn the favor of God, but the good deeds people do when they already know that Christ has earned them the favor of God. Titus 2 calls us to be people that are zealous for good works; in Matthew 5 Jesus tells us to let our light shine before others by doing good works; Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God’s very purpose in saving us was enabling us to glorify him by the good works we do for others. As Christians, we are to be known for our good works—those things done for the glory of God and the good of other people.
And so we go through
life doing these good works, and far more often than not, these are small and
seemingly inconsequential deeds. We rarely talk a person out of recklessly
taking his own life; we rarely write a check that utterly transforms a life or
ministry; we rarely save a drowning child or defuse a ticking time bomb.
Instead, we interact with people for moments at a time and attempt to say
something—anything—that may be encouraging; we write small checks and place
them in the offering plate; we have brief conversations with children, and we
share just a shred of the Good News with someone who crosses our path. Most of
our good deeds go unnoticed and unmarked by others. Even we, ourselves, fail to
notice or remember the majority of the good deeds we do. But not God. God sees
them all, knows them all, remembers them all, and uses them all.
Just as someday, we will see the beautiful tapestry God has been weaving through our suffering, through the events we never would have chosen, in the same way we will see the tapestry this Master Weaver has been creating through those good deeds. We will see how a kind word resonated in a person’s heart even days and weeks later; we will see how that small amount of money was used to accomplish something amazing; we will see how that little shred of the gospel was the pebble in the shoe of the person who had hardened himself against God.
Someday, God will show us His tapestry, we will see how God has woven each of these little deeds together for our good, and His own glory, and we will rejoice.”