I have been through a season of struggle. For two years it has sprinkled my life with frustration and pain. I fought against it and became angry. If I wasn’t angry I became hurt and fell into the victim mentality. Just about the moment I would find temporary peace something would happen and I started all over again. I tried hard and failed often. I sought the Lord daily and prayed faithfully, but was unable to find a true and lasting peace while I was in this distress.
This week my friend suggested that I listen to a message by Graham Cooke titled, “Why Wounded and Betrayed Believers are so Useful to God”. The message was 1 1/2 hours long and I stopped and started so that I could take notes.
I have walked with the Lord for almost 50 years and this was the message that reached into my soul and changed me. I have a deeper understanding of how the Lord works in our struggles. For the first time in a very long time I have deep, abiding – peace.
Here are some of the notes that I took. I hope this message blesses you as it blessed me.
“Why Wounded and Betrayed Believers are so Useful to God”
We cannot enter into our personal destiny with God unless we allow ourselves to be changed into His likeness.
There is a process which He takes us through.
We need to come to an understanding of this process and be willing to submit to it so that we can be personally transformed. If we are going to be anybody for God we are going to need to be willing to submit our lives to this process.
It’s a cycle. Each time we go around the cycle we should go deeper in our faith.
This will plunge us into a season of distress so that God can get rid of all the things in your life that shouldn’t be there. Every hindrance and obstacle within you will have to be dealt with so that God can develop you.
Sometimes we get so hung up on our distress that we don’t allow God to develop us. This is the place where we begin to inherit our destiny.
When we are in this place of distress we will fail, fail, fail, fail, and fail…and…and…and. Your angel might even need counseling. (laughter)
Our lives WILL go in the opposite direction for a season. This testing will be the making of you as you learn the ways of God. God takes you down before He takes you up. The lessons learned here will never leave you and will prepare you for a greater ministry.
We learn about God when we don’t know what He is doing. It can feel like an awful thing.
Joseph was betrayed by the people who he trusted the most.
You will be nothing in this Kingdom unless you have been betrayed or wounded. (relationships, sickness, deep concern for loved ones, financial distress, struggling with depression, etc.) This is so that you may know the fellowship of His sufferings. If you want the fullness of God – you must be acquainted with grief. When you know it’s part of your development – it’s much easier to endure and it’s much easier to forgive others.
When our life goes the opposite direction we can come to a place where we learn to trust God for everything. He is also bringing us to a place where He can trust us.
We learn to live by faith and not feelings. We should not pray that God will save us from this hour – but that His name would be glorified in it.
If you don’t glorify God through the process (in the pit) your ministry will revolve around YOU. We need to be humbled and brought to a place of slavery – servanthood – and stewardship.
Ministry is never about you.
The only right I have is to give up my rights.
Hurts are necessary in this process. It is where I learn grace and mercy and forgiveness. Jesus was wounded and despised – do I think I am above Jesus?
We must die to self – in order to have more of life. Submit. We’re going to get wounded – but we have to get healed or we will be useless in the battles to come.
We have to find a place of joy and thanksgiving for those people. “I trust God so much I am prepared to trust people again.”
You can waste money – who cares? You can get money back. But when you waste time – you cannot get that back.
You need innocence and purity – do not live in suspicion, mistrust, wariness towards people. Otherwise we do violence to our own spirituality.
If we have a wall up against people – guess who else can’t get through? – God.
All of us will face death by installments. (nervous laughter) Life is always preceded by death. It doesn’t have to be difficult if we learn real trust in God and submit to the process.
Joseph said three times to his brothers “It wasn’t you – it was God.” This is the way that He deals with us. Behind everything that’s been done against us or has happened to us – God is the architect. God meant it for good. I can forgive because God allowed it to draw me to a place of humility, grace, servanthood, and kindness. I can accept the situation I am in.
Joseph’s brothers were an instrument God used. It doesn’t excuse their actions – but God used it for his good.
Don’t make your healing conditional on your vindication. God doesn’t care if you are vindicated. If you are waiting to be vindicated – it proves you need to go back into the oven because you’re not quite done yet. God sometimes takes us out and sticks a fork in us to see if we’re tender enough – if if we’re not – He may need to put us back in the oven and turn up the gas a little more. (laughter)
All the time you’re thinking about those things – you haven’t let go of something. You are more liable to be vindicated if it doesn’t matter anymore. We need to come to a place where neither praise or criticism matters and we are living only for an audience of ONE.
When you can see God’s hand on your life you will be too busy submitting and rejoicing in Him to think of those things.
Once you can release other people from guilt – you know you have been healed.
We are all in training and God develops us through adversity. Consider that this is a major development opportunity from God.
Like Joseph and Potiphar’s wife – this situation I am in is to get me to a place where I make predetermined choices about how I am going to respond to temptation that will cause me to sin.
The depths to which we are willing to go low – will impact how high God is able to take you and use you for the glory of His Kingdom. He needs to know that He can trust you.
He will break you – and you will want to resist. It’s a test on your life in order to purify you and to build patience. It will be a test of your patience and whether or not you are able to trust God’s timing.
You are either going to wait for God – or promote yourself.
We move from distress to development to produce a true servant with the capacity for sacrifice. We will become intent on letting God have what He wants to have. We cannot come into the fullness of God without going through times of brokenness.
People destroy with their character what they built with their gifts unless transformation has occurred.
Submit to God’s dealings. Stop whining, complaining, and moaning… Die quietly. (laughter)
***The pit becomes a well as the Holy Spirit fills your life.
With everything that God speaks to you – He will give you a test in order that you may fulfill that call on your life. He puts you into training.
God does not measure time – He measures growth. Good news – it is not a sentence that is measured in time. Submission and cooperation can be profound.
The devil comes to kill and destroy – God is coming to kill our flesh and He’s not apologizing for it.
God doesn’t measure our success by what we achieve – but the faithfulness that we display. God is looking for your faithfulness and perseverance. Keep going and don’t let go of God. If we can’t persevere in our training we won’t persevere in warfare or our ministry with others.
– Comment made regarding a young woman in the Olympics, “I knew she was going to win a medal – because I watched her on the training ground.”
The time of distress is our training ground. The training is important. We are called to a war and our lives are lived on the battleground of God on one hand and Satan on the other. Learn to see the majesty of God on the training ground.
Stand. Even if at the end of the day it’s only you and God. Learn to press in and allow yourself to be humbled at the hand of God. Then the enemy can’t have a piece of you.
God can’t take ground from the enemy if the enemy has some ground in you. (foothold)
For the rest of your life – all that matters is that you are a servant of the Lord. He releases blessing in the proportion that you have allowed your character to be developed by Him.
No longer do you have to grasp and reach – things will be given to you. His presence will fill the areas that you have submitted to Him. You cannot pray for the presence of God without planning to make room for Him.
God deserves your excellence. – Transformation.
…and the cycle will start again…- we need to remember that our pain has a purpose. It is always for God’s glory to be revealed in us and through us.
You haven’t failed God. God hasn’t failed you.
Flick that little switch in your brain from whining to cooperating and realizing that this is GOD.
My prayer is that we will see God in our struggles and carry His true peace into the year 2018.