Tragedies . . . Or Opportunities?

“If we could all start thinking of mistakes, failures and ‘doors closing’ as the orchestration of God’s hand in our life, they wouldn’t seem like tragedies but opportunities.” -Deanne Sewell

A friend of mine recently shared this on Facebook and it really hit home. She was sharing about the next steps one of her sons is taking in the journey of his life, how he’s ready to face the challenges that will come his way knowing that this has all been the hand of God putting him in this place, at this time, for this purpose. She ended her post with this, “Does that mean he won’t make mistakes and have struggles… NO, but he knows it’s all part of making him into what God wants him to be. If we could all start thinking of mistakes, failures and ‘doors closing’ as the orchestration of God’s hand in our life, they wouldn’t seem like tragedies but opportunities.”

Just a little earlier that day, my oldest two children and I had been reading God’s Smuggler for their school. It’s about a missionary who smuggled Bibles into Communist areas years ago. It tells of his conversion and then the call he answered when he realized the desperate need for Bibles as well as encouragement among the persecuted church in these areas. It’s a very powerful book and has been very challenging to me in so many ways, from the level of my faith to trust God to provide to just how comfortable I am as a Christian in the United States of America. 

Earlier on the same day that I saw my friend’s post, as my daughters and I read in God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew (the missionary) told about a “mistake” that he had made. He and his missionary partner were traveling through Poland, nearing the Russian border as well as nearing the end of the allotted time that their transit visa allowed them to be in Poland when Brother Andrew realized that he had exchanged too much of one currency for another back in Warsaw. The only place to get foreign currency there was in Warsaw, but if they turned to go back to Warsaw, their transit visa would expire before they could make it out of the country. As they drove on still headed toward the Russian border, they ended up in an accident where they rear ended another car. The driver of the other car demanded that the police be called, an action that could have resulted in great danger for these missionaries traveling through with a great many Bibles hidden in their vehicle. Brother Andrew then remembered the money he had over exchanged and was able to pay the other driver a sufficient amount to cover the slight damage made to his vehicle and satisfy him to the point that he was no longer yelling for the police to be called. That “mistake” Brother Andrew had made turned out to be something that made them able to handle an unforeseen circumstance (unforeseen to them, but not to God) that very likely would have caused them a great deal of trouble.

“And there in the dusty bypass we thanked the Lord for having allowed us to make one mistake in order to get us out of another.” -Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler

Reading the missionary’s story and then my friend’s post right after really made me stop and think about this. We’ve had some things come up lately in our lives that have felt like the result of maybe some areas we failed in or mistakes that we’ve made. Some other things that have happened causing doors to be closed. Some of it has been stressful and some of it has hurt. But then there’s this idea right here that God, knowing me and my struggles so well, placed before me twice in the space of a few hours:

My Post-18

So I am turning my heart to hope instead of worry and fear and I’m laying my desires and my plans before the Lord and asking Him to take them. Trusting Him to make the things that have happened that haven’t gone the way I hoped and make them even better. I’m trusting Him to provide for us the things He knows our hearts need. Trusting that these failures, mistakes, and closed doors are just what He needs to work with, that they’re opportunities for Him to show His power and for me to depend less on myself and more on Him. It’s a struggle in a particular area or two for me to do this. My flesh wants to fight, to be upset, to feel hurt. But this is a battle I’ve been through before and I won’t let it bring me down again. 

Lord, take these things I see as “tragedies” and make them into opportunities for You to work, for You to get the glory, for my heart to be changed and made more like Yours. And help me to trust You to do it.

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