Inconvenience. Heartache. Nothing about either of those words screams, "Blessing," does it? But what if we saw the whole picture? What if we understood what God was doing when he allowed suffering and trouble into our lives? We may not see the clear picture in our own lives, but we can see it in the lives of others. For starters, let's look at the children of Israel.
Due to their lack of faith and hard-hearted nature, the children of Israel wandered around in the wilderness before God allowed them entrance into the Promised Land. Near the end of their journey, they found their way blocked by occupied territory. Moses, being the calm and diplomatic man he was, sent a message to the kings of these territories asking for safe passage through these lands. He assured the kings they wouldn't touch or eat anything. They just wanted to go through to take some time off their journey.
The first king was the king of Edom, who swiftly refused to allow the Israelites to pass and told them they would just have to go around. This discouraged the people, but they followed the king's orders and worked their way around the perimeter, only to be faced with another occupied land. This time, Moses asked Sihon, the king of the Amorites for safe passage. Not only did Sihon refuse, but he sent his army out to attack Israel. Nice guy!
Here we have a weary and discouraged crowd that is only trying to make their way home. They are minding their own business and doing things the right way. They're not trying to make trouble, and even when things didn't go their way, they honored the king of the land. And how are their goodness and obedience rewarded? They're attacked.
Sound familiar? You're going through life, minding your own business, doing your best to serve God in all things. Then, out of the shadows, here come the warriors. They attack our minds, our bodies, our relationships. It seems so wrong, so unfair. Why would God allow such heartache and trouble? Maybe because He had a bigger plan in play. Look at what happened when Sihon attacked Israel.
Not only did Israel get to take the shortcut through the land of the Amorites, but they also gained possession of the area. Think about it, if Sihon hadn't attacked them, they would have likely done the same thing they did when the king of Edom refused them passage--they would have gone the long way around. But God had a better plan. He allowed Sihon to attack so He could deliver the king, his people, and all the land into the hands of the children of Israel. What appeared to be trouble was a blessing in disguise. How about that?
Just this morning, I read the account of several people who experienced frustrations and heartaches. One woman spilled her coffee and had to change clothes. Another poor guy missed his bus by mere seconds, causing him to have to wait for the next one. One lady overslept because the power had gone out, which meant her alarm clock didn't work. Another man got into his car to leave for work only to discover that his car battery was dead. Can you hear the grumbling? Can you relate? Inconveniences are a real pain in the. . .well, you know. But, let me fill you in on a little secret about those people I just mentioned. Though their circumstances were all different, they had something significant in common: those inconveniences saved their lives. Yep, each of those people would have been in the Twin Towers that dreadful morning of 9/11 had they not been delayed because of frustration and heartache. I guarantee they'll never view inconveniences in the same way, and we shouldn't either.
God has given us proof in His Word that He uses all things for our good and His glory. It may not look good or feel good at the time, but don't lose heart. God sees what we can't see. He knows how the story is supposed to end. And when things seem to be going wrong, we can trust that God has a better plan in play. Just like He did for the children of Israel. Just like He did for those who were spared the horror of 9/11.
Can inconvenience or heartache be a blessing? Absolutely. With God, all things are possible. He can turn mourning into dancing, so what's a little frustration to Him?