Nearly 2 weeks ago, on November 26th, marked the 3 year anniversary of the day that every woman, every wife, every child, prays to never experience. It was the day my husband sat my children down, as I sat by with tears streaming down my face, and told them that he was leaving. As long as I live I will never forget that day. I knew it was coming, I had known for several weeks, heck I had even chosen the day, because he had wanted to tell them on a Sunday night the weekend before Thanksgiving and I refused to do that to my kids. I said he could wait until Tuesday night, so they had all of Thanksgiving break to recover before having to head to school. I can remember the prayers I prayed, the tears I cried as I begged my husband not to do this, as I begged him to consider counseling, as I cried out to God to please fix this mess. No amount of pleading moved my husbands stone heart and none of those prayers were answered. Well at least not in the way I expected them to be answered.
As I sit here today looking back on the past 3 years, I see things quite differently than I did then. It is as if I look through different eyes, and in a way I do. I am not the person I was 3 years ago.
On that day, 3 years ago, 2 days before Thanksgiving, I didn’t know how I would make it past the night, let alone through the week and I never expected that now, 3 years later, 2 days after Thanksgiving, I would look back on what happened and see anything good. But yet, that is exactly what I see.
As I look at where my life is now, I realize that only God could have orchestrated what has happened. I look at my kids and although their road has been hurtful and hard and often paved with more tears than I can say, I see a dependence on prayer…a dependence on God. As I look in the mirror, I see a woman I never thought I could be. I spent years of my life, made many foolish mistakes, and did everything I could to avoid “being alone”. While I can say, I would not have chosen this path, God always knew the path I would need to walk to bring me to the place I am today. A place that helps me to know that no matter what path I am walking, I am never alone.
As I look back I also see something else. I see the sovereign hand of God using the hurtful things that were done to me and my children to bring about good. I am often reminded of the story of Joseph(you can read more about Joseph here in my post Waiting=Training). I am sure as Joseph was in the middle of his bad circumstances, he couldn’t always see the plan that God had for him. However, he knew where his hope lied, he knew that he could trust God and that God would never leave him. God brought him through every bad circumstance, every evil thing that was done to him and He used those circumstances to bring about His plan and purpose for Joseph’s life. It was because of this that in Genesis 50:20, Joseph is able to say this to his brothers:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 ESV
Too often today, people forget that God is sovereign in all things. That means He is sovereign over sin as well. We sometimes think when someone sins, especially against us, that they somehow got one over on God or that God didn’t know that was going to happen. God knows every detail of our life. NOTHING takes Him by surprise.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 NLT
Barbara Duguid, in her book Extravagant Grace, talks about God’s sovereignty over sin and the way in which He “…uses what He hates.to bring about what He loves.” She goes on to say that
“God is also completely sovereign over man’s sin. From the first sin in the garden onward, Scripture shows us a Creator who hates sin but has never once been surprised or caught off guard by the wickedness of His creation.”
Joni Erikson Tada says it like this, “ God has determined to steer what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” (via Extravagant Grace by Barbara Duguid)
When I remember all of this, it reminds me that God is sovereign over the evil that was done to me and my children just as he was sovereign over what happened to Joseph. It reminds me that while we make poor choices that lead us down sinful roads, God will always get his way in the end. It helps me to look back and already see the good that God has brought about through it.. It also gives me hope that if God uses what he hates for good, he will use the sinful choices my husband has made to bring about good in his life as well.
Three years later I can begin to see how what was meant to harm me and my children, what was meant as evil against us, God can, will and is using for my good, my children’s good amd his glorious purposes!