I am a huge fan of the Olympics. When they are on, I watch as much as I can. I not only love to watch the competitions, I love hearing about the individuals that are competing in each sport. Most of the athletes have had to overcome many obstacles to get to where they are today. I like the story behind the athlete almost as much as I do watching them compete. Almost every single one has had to overcome some type of adversity in their lives. When they get the medal for that particular race, it really isn’t just for that race. That medal signifies years and years of training and pain and circumstances they have had to overcome.
If you look in the Old Testament, you will see many characters who have also had to overcome difficult situations in order to be used by God. There is a particular woman I would like to focus in on to illustrate what overcoming adversity looks like. Her name is Esther. In the Esther study by Beth Moore, you learn what God did to enable Esther to have a powerful role in history. She was a Jew who was taken from her home to live in the palace. The king saw her and chose her from all the other women to become queen. Her guardian overhears a plot to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom and tells Esther she must approach the king in order to save her people. Back in that day, the queen wasn’t supposed to approach the king or she would die. She had people fasting and praying and then she boldly approached the king in order to save her people. Because of her role, she was able to save thousands of Jews who would have died if she wouldn’t have been willing to put her life on the line in order to save them.
One of the famous verses from Esther 4:14 reads, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” She was very wise to know that God had placed her in her role in order to save her people.
Beth says, “No matter what life – or Satan himself – hands us, the favor of God has on His children causes that “lot” to tumble out on the table in such a way that, instead of destruction, the child will discover that her portion turned into destiny one trusting step at a time. When all is said and done, she will see that the portion God assigned her was good. Right. Rich. Full of purpose.” I can see now that what God assigned for me was good, even though I didn’t think at the time it was. I can look back and now see that what the Lord allowed to happen was for “such a time as this.” As I type these words to you, I can say that I don’t see the excruciating pain any more. I see what the Lord has done in me and how He has changed me. It brings me so much joy to be able to say those words. It has taken me a long time to get here!
I know that Satan tried to destroy my mind. I know that he has tried to get me to turn away from the Lord. I know he has almost succeeded many times. That’s a scary thought to me! What happened to me is a part of me. It makes me who I am. I have to choose to embrace my past and ask God to use it to fulfill my destiny instead of curling up in a ball, turning off the lights and living in fear the rest of my life riddled with painful memories. I am not making light of abuse. It is terrible and it never should happen, but the Lord can use it in our lives. I want to rise up like Esther and be who God has called me to be. She is proof that you can rise above your adversity.
I wrote this in my journal 7 years ago. “My journey has been to trust you and know you. Satan has been trying to destroy me for several years, but You didn’t let him. Only You can take the bad and make it good. I know that my brother David wouldn’t want me to give up! He would want me to allow good to come from everything that we have been through. I want to bring You glory. I will sit and wait and follow where You lead me. Tomorrow is another day and life is full of many changes. I just want to be in Your hands where You will guide me and direct me. I know that I am safe when I am in your hands.”
Adversity isn’t easy and it isn’t fun. It can feel like you are going to die when you are going through it. I felt that way many times. I told the Lord many times that I wasn’t going to make it. When I look back at my journals, I see how much pain I was in. I struggled every single day to make sense of my life. But there is one key thing that I did that I think helped me the most. I struggled with the Lord instead of against Him. Let me try to explain that. Every single day I journaled and talked to Him. I told Him all my feelings and thoughts whether they were nice or not. I put it all out there on those pages. I believe that my honesty brought me closer to Him. He met me on those pages and spoke to me. I was completely honest with Him because I knew He wanted me to be. I cried out for understanding and insight. (Proverbs 2:3) He didn’t always immediately answer me, but eventually He did. He said, “Laurie, my words are truth. Focus on what I say. I only bring truth. I want to give you hope. You can trust in me and what I say. I am not here to condemn you. I am here to guide you and direct you down the right path. I am here to love you. You don’t have to perform for me. You are my child and I took the time to create you and I want you to understand how much I love you.”
I have struggled with the Lord over so many things. I haven’t understood. I have been angry, frustrated, hopeless, depressed, anxious, upset and many other things. But I have learned that if I will just be honest about my feelings with Him, He will talk to me and help me get through my situations. It is so hard in the culture that we live in to be patient and wait for Him to answer. We want things now and it is so hard to wait. We need to trust Him and wait for his answers because they are the best answers to our problems. I have learned that His timing is perfect.
Another thing is God is on our side. He was on Esther’s and He is on ours. God is at work in us and for us. I know we can’t see Him. Sometimes that is very hard for me because I want to see His face! But when I look at what He is doing in me and around me, then I see Him. He is at work to bring good out of every situation that I am in. He has a divine plan for us that can’t be changed or altered even when we make mistakes. I pray all the time that the Lord will take my mistakes and turn them into something beautiful.
We can overcome any situation that we are in because of Jesus. He can use our past and our present to accomplish in us what needs to be accomplished. Even when you think you have completely screwed up, He can take it and use it! I know this to be true because I have screwed up a lot! He has taken my past “for such a time as this” so I can write to you about what He has done in my life. This is my destiny. I cry as I say that! I never would have thought in a million years that God would choose me to do this. This is not my plan, but it is His. Someday when I stand before Him, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” as He puts my own gold medal around my neck. (I had to add that in light of the Olympics! Who knows maybe we will get one!) But regardless of the medals, I want to live my life in a way that pleases Him. So, if He asks me to do something that is way out of my comfort zone, then I must do it because He will give me the power I need to do it. I am pretty sure Esther was scared to death to do what God asked her to do, but she did it anyway.
I am going to leave you with this verse. It pretty much sums up everything I have said. Until next time and thanks for reading! I really do appreciate you!
“God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.” Psalm 18:24