“We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I have some friends whose choices had brought them to some pretty dark places. And some other friends whose choices had made them into some pretty dark people.
But having been rescued from those dark places – and having been transformed from being those dark people – a couple of powerful realizations emerge…
First, our past is part of the fabric of our lives. But in Jesus, it no longer has to define our lives. A major part of being a new creation in Christ Jesus is that we ARE no longer what we were. The Bible tells us that the old “you,” that made those terrible choices or did those terrible things, has died with Jesus – and the new you emerged with Jesus (Romans 6). Only trusting our lives to Jesus can offer us this.
In Christ, we do not just turn over a new leaf – we are turned over to a new life.
Second, our past is part of His story being told through us. The Bible calls Him the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and that means that He has a vital story to tell – a story of His grace and mercy, of His power and patience, of His undaunted love. He is using our lives to tell this story – using all the things that makes up our lives!
Some people can only hear this story in the “language” of their own mistakes and failures – the same ones we have made in our lives. Our past becomes the connection point for the present, to lead others into a hope-laden future. They need to know that their darkness is not their final destiny – that there is a way out of where their mistakes and failures have brought them.
The brokenness of our past, in a very real sense, gives us credibility to the broken souls of the present. They need to know they are not alone in their struggle – and they are not hopelessly lost.
When Christians can truly embrace the victory that Jesus won on their behalf, they become a people who are imbued with purpose. They not only have His story to tell – they have an audience that is open and eager to hear. An audience that has been desperately hoping to find someone (anyone) who can truly come alongside and say, “I know exactly what you are going through, because I have been there too. And… I can show you the way out!”
I don’t think we’ll ever know (this side of heaven) how much our past lives of mistakes and despair have provided the opportunity for victory and hope in lives whose past has kept them enslaved to the darkness. We, who have been in that darkness, are now Light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8).
And every mistake, every failure, every addiction, every moment of regret, sets the stage for how the love of God can capture us, comfort us… and change us.
If, indeed, “all things work together for good,” even the things we have despised about our lives can, and will, be redeemed and used to the glory of God!
Prayer focus: God, help me to see how my life can be Your story of grace and redemption… for someone who needs to hear that story.